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Officers lending a hand to grandparents raising grandchildren

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Grandparents raising their grandchildren filled the First Presbyterian Church Saturday, not because they want gifts, but because they need them.

"They need the help," Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said.

One pair of grandparents is tasked with raising thirteen children.

"If we're not there for them, then they're not able to provide Christmas for their grandchildren." Whetsel said.

Thirteen years ago Sunbeam Family Services, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, OKC and Midwest City Police all teamed up to give nearly 50 children Christmas presents.

Over the years there's been some growth.

Saturday Santa slid down the chimney, giving over 600 kids a bright red bag full of gifts.

"These kids are asking for basic needs. They're asking for clothes, some are even asking for food," Major Dexter Nelson with the OKC Police said.

Nelson says these are the kids who make the nice list.

"The kids will shop for their family. A lot of these kids are very selfless, they don't ask for anything for themselves, they just want something for their families," Nelson said.

"These are young kids that are saying if you can't do anything, help my sister out or help my brother out, and they tell us what their brother or sister wants rather than what they want. To me that's the Christmas spirit. It makes you think about Christmas in a totally different way." Whetsel said.

For information on how to donate to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, please contact the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department.