EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Santa Claus is parking his sleigh at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino drive Saturday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. Santa will be handing out gifts to every child that stands in line. The event will be offering hot chocolate and coffee to those who attend to stay warm while Santa Clause gives out gifts.
El Paso County Sheriff Posse and Sunland Racetrack Park Casino have partnered up to put a smile on children’s faces with the help of other organizations in the borderland.
Back in the 1960’s, El Paso County Sheriff Posse used to be located in the Lower Valley of El Paso Cowboy Park but decided to move to Sunland Park.
Gregory Baine, President of the El Paso County Sheriff Posse says they noticed how depressing and isolated Sunland Park was back in the 1960’s. This encouraged them to bring joy to every family in the area.
Baine says, they began their partnership in the early 2000’s with Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. They began their normal gift exchange and also wanted to give toys to kids in need.
“In 2000’s, we partnered with the Robertie and Evelyn McKey Foundation and since then they provided thousands of toys, after this toy drive,” Baine said.
Adding that the University of Phoenix helped them with hundreds of toys to thousands.
“We’ll start here on Saturday morning, and about nine o’clock, we’ll assemble and then around 9:40, we’ll have a mini parade, I guess. Going from here to the Casino. We’ll have the Sunland finest, our police department and fire department with their truck leading the way and we’ll have a trailer with our stagecoach on it, with Santa on top and loaded with toys.”
Since the population of Sunland Park has grown, they are anticipating seeing 800 children. Baine encourages the public to donate new toys.
Baine also tells KTSM how they have done so many toy drives in the past.
“We’ve helped La Casa in Las Cruces, we have given toys to the Rescue Mission here in El Paso, to the Rio Gran Rainbow Group. To the Salvation Army and to the Armed Forces YMCA, that have given the toys to lower enlisted E-3 private first class and below have families and may not have the needs that other folks have.”
If you are interested in donating a toy before the toy drive, you can drop them off at the El Paso County Sheriff Posse on 1801 McNutt Road or call Greg Baine at (571) 334-9663 for more information.