SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Santa Claus joined Scranton police to spread holiday cheer through the Electric City.
Kids could hardly believe their eyes when they saw Santa Claus coming up their street Tuesday evening. Scranton Police helped St. Nick pay a special visit to some Scranton neighborhoods for their second annual Sidewalk Santa.
“It’s very important to give back to the community, that’s what we’re about with the police department. We rely on the community to give us tips and cooperate with us to help solve crimes. Today it’s special that we give back to the community, so whatever we can do to put smiles on the kids’ faces and build that relationship with the community, that’s what we’re here for,” Scranton Police Department Chief Leonard Namiotka said.
Scranton Police gave out treats and coloring books and Santa spent time with kids who might need a little extra Christmas cheer. One child told Santa about getting picked on and bullied at school, to which Namiotka said: “We’re going to make sure you tell a teacher and you tell a parent okay? Tell them who’s doing that to you and if they don’t stop, then you give me a call and we’ll come have a conversation.”
“And Santa will definitely put him on the naughty list,” Santa said.
“That’s right and if he’s bullying you, walk away from that and tell someone, tell an adult,” Namiotka said.
Namiotka says this is an opportunity to connect with the kids and show them that they’re here to help.
“There was an issue that he maybe didn’t report to anybody that we could actually help him out, give him some tips on what to do and how to report that and how to solve that for him so he feels safer in his school,” Namiotka said.
Scranton Police brought Santa to 10 locations throughout the Electric City, making sure each kid got to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Then, they delivered supplies to a local homeless shelter and brought a little joy to the people inside.
“It gets people in good spirits instead of feeling down and out especially when you’re in this type of situation,” Dominique Diaz of Scranton said.