Police, volunteers work to make Christmas special for others - WSMV Channel 4

Police, volunteers work to make Christmas special for others

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Santa has hundreds of helpers in Nashville on Christmas Eve, and many of them dress in blue.

They are usually keeping our streets safe, but tonight many Nashville families have toys under their trees and food on the table thanks to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

With toys, bikes and food in baskets, the old Tennessee State Prison transforms into an outpost of the North Pole.

Every year, the facility is full of officers and dozens of volunteers who raise money for gifts and deliver them along with two weeks worth of food to Nashville-area families that need the help.

For Renita Adkins, the support means Christmas for her five grandchildren.

"This is so exciting. You have a Merry Christmas," Adkins said. "Thank you so much."

Ashley and Ricky McDonald have volunteered for the Christmas Basket Program the last several years.

"It's the best thing I do all year. It makes me so grateful for all the things God has blessed me with," Ashley McDonald said.

The McDonalds made several stops along their route Monday.

"They don't have a lot of things, and we do. We're lucky," Ricky McDonald said.

The Christmas Basket Program was created 51 years ago by former Metro Police Chief Joe Casey who asked his force to give the public gifts instead giving to one other.

"Let's not buy each other Christmas cards, and use that money to buy food people who need it," Casey said.

Officers nominate people to receive help from the program. In its first year, two families were included, but this year more than 230 families had their Christmas wishes granted.

It takes a lot of help to put those Christmas baskets together. The Music City and Rivergate chapters of the Harley Owners Group raised money all year for the cause.

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