LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2020) — Chief Santa Claus (also known as University of Kentucky Police Chief Joe Monroe) and his elves (aka UK Police officers and other joyful friends) made an early holiday arrival at UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) Friday afternoon, Dec. 18.
UK Police delivered four police cruisers full of new toys and gift items for KCH patients. During the month of December, the police department has been conducting its fourth annual toy drive called “Cram the Cruiser.”
“This has been our largest collection ever,” Monroe said. “We had a fantastic participation within the department and a wonderful response from the UK and Lexington community. I want to thank everyone who donated toys and other items. This means so much to KCH patients and their families.”
Delivering the toys to Kentucky Children's Hospital is pretty special for Monroe, as he trades his police uniform for a full-blown Santa Claus suit. He even sports a full gray beard after participating in No Shave November fundraising.
From October until the end of January, Monroe allows exemptions within the police department from the strict professional appearance standards for a $25 per month donation toward the No Shave November fundraiser. A large portion of that fundraising — $1,000 — was used to purchase items for the toy drive this year. The rest of the proceeds will go to other charitable programs.
Cram the Cruiser is also an important event for the family of Jonathan Ard and 3M company of Cynthiana. Ard, who was a Green Beret in the U.S. Army and served two tours of duty in Iraq before returning to Kentucky and working as an engineer at 3M, died of leukemia in 2016. His family and 3M employees participate in the toy drive in his honor, and they joined “Santa” and UK Police officers Friday to deliver the items to KCH.
Anyone who missed the toy drive but wants to donate to the KCH Child Life Department can find more information at these websites: https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/kentucky-childrens-hospital/donations/wishlist and https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/5413-child-life-program-gift-fund.
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