Graham police hand out gifts

GRAHAM, N.C. -- Graham police officers were playing the role of Santa on Tuesday morning.

"It's a humbling feeling to be in a position like this," said Lt. Duane Flood. "Seeing individuals come in, without assistance, they wouldn't have much of a Christmas."

"Operation Merry Christmas" brings the community and police together. Graham police ask businesses and organizations for donations of toys and money. With a child's wish list in hand, officers like Tiffanie Barnes use the money to go shopping.

"We love it. This is my second year doing it. It's a very moving thing for us to do," Barnes said.

This is the 16th year for "Operation Merry Christmas". But Flood can remember almost every wish list. He recalls a time when a child couldn't afford an out-of-state field trip.

"She was very specific about the list she provided. She didn't want toys, just to be able to go on this trip. I was able to get a business to pay for her trip in full," Flood said.

Plus, Flood was able to provide the student with a camera and a gift card so she could buy souvenirs.

That's why "Operation Merry Christmas" has a lasting impact on the community and on the Graham Police Department.