Making Spirits Bright

Santa Claus stops by Port Isabel

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

A line hundreds of people long snaked around the ballroom at the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center Monday as residents of the Laguna Madre anxiously awaited a special meeting with Santa Claus.

“We have about 340 registered children,” said Port Isabel Chief of Police Robert Lopez as he watched children excitedly run towards the jolly big man, who sat at the far side of the ballroom along with several volunteer elves from the local community.

Each year the Port Isabel Police Department teams up with Santa to collect and distribute toys to the children of Port Isabel and the surrounding community. For Lopez — who only recently took over as the City’s top cop — this year’s toy drive was his first, and he was quite pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.

“I come from a small community also, and I’ve never seen this happen in such a small community,” he said. Lopez is from Rio Hondo, which, like the bayside town of Port Isabel, is rural and boasts a population of approximately 2,300 people.

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