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Posted November 20, 2019 | 4:15 PM

Local First Responders, Sincerely Santa to Make a Memorable Day for Hillsborough Schoolchildren

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2019) - Local firefighters and law enforcement officers will join forces to surprise students at DeSoto Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 21, with a parade that will kick off a month-long effort by first responders to support the Sincerely Santa program.

Santa will arrive on the back of a fire engine, escorted by first responders and their vehicles from seven agencies. After the parade, Santa will hold a story time with a class of students, followed with gifts of books for the children to take home.

Participating agencies include Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Tampa Fire Rescue, Tampa Police, Temple Terrace Police, Temple Terrace Fire Rescue, and Hillsborough County School District.

They will begin staging for the parade at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Ikea Tampa at 1103 N. 22nd St. in Tampa. The parade is scheduled to start at 8:55 a.m. and will proceed down North 26th Street to DeSoto Elementary School.

The nonprofit Sincerely Santa organization began in 1987, and the program has been growing each year. Hillsborough County Public Schools selects the schools and children for the program. Sincerely Santa collects the donations, and local first responders help make the program work. Together, they've provided necessities such as food, clothing, and eyeglasses for more than 100,000 at-risk children in Hillsborough County.

Thursday's event is the kickoff of more than a month of fundraising and distributing toys to children.

More information about the Sincerely Santa program can be found at sincerelysantatampa.org.

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