BUNNELL, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Volunteers with the Santa Run organization have sold Christmas trees for kids in need for 30 years. They were shocked when they discovered that nearly 40 of the trees had been stolen, and they said nothing like this has ever happened to them before.
"I can’t even imagine why," said a stunned Stephen Palmer, president of the Flagler County Professional Firefighters Association and a member of the Santa Run. "What would go through someone’s head to do that?"
According to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office reports, burglars actually cut locks and twice broke in a cabbage facility on County Road 305 to get them all.
The Sheriff's Office is on both cases and detectives are looking for any leads.
“We’re certainly going to look internally, as we have to in each case. It really is concerning that they targeted this business," explained Commander James Troiano, with the Sheriff’s Office. "It's really a terrible situation when people have to go out and steal from others. It makes this even worse when children are ultimately going to be impacted by this."
“The first thing that came to my mind was the Grinch that stole Christmas,” Palmer said.
Palmer said the sale of the trees would have raised nearly $1,000 for gifts and toys for kids who could use some happiness in their lives. He said the Santa Run organization is desperate to make up the shortfall, and are asking for donations, to bring the children the Christmas they deserve.
“This might be the only toys they receive for Christmas," Palmer explained. "We need new, unwrapped toys."
If you would like to donate to the 32nd annual Santa Run, you can drop off new or gently-used toys at the following locations: Flagler County Fire Stations; A & S Hardware (County Road 305 and Canal Avenue, in Bunnell; Westside Baptist Church (3559 Canal Ave., Bunnell; and A & D Liquidators (201 S. State Street, Bunnell.
Monetary donations can be mailed to: Santa Run, c/o Flagler County Professional Fire Fighters, P.O. Box 1904, Bunnell, FL 32110. Make checks payable to "Grace Tabernacle Ministries." Palmer says monetary donations are tax deductible.
The 32nd annual Santa Run parade is December 17, starting at 5:30 p.m. A children's party begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Hollar and Greene facility located at 3258 CR 305 in Bunnell.