Officer Michael Ulsch presented a $100 gift card to a family. Members of the Sheriff's Offices in Jacksonville and Clay and Nassau counties gave out a total of $50,000 in gift cards Tuesday.

Some Secret Santas wear police uniforms

Dec. 14, 2016

For the second year in a row, two anonymous donors provided $50,000 in $100 holiday gift cards to be given to citizens in Jacksonville and Clay and St. Johns counties.

The 500 recipients were selected by law enforcement officers acting as Secret Santas in the three counties.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office distributed 300 of the cards, and Clay and St. Johns County’s Sheriff’s offices each gave out 100 gift cards.

According to a news release, area officers and deputies were provided a little guidance as they began their “Secret Santa” duties: Make the choices based on their experience in the community or with someone they may encounter.

The #904SecretSanta campaign started in 2015, when two donors approached The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, which established a fund to carry out their wishes.

The foundation got help from TD Bank to transform the donors’ $50,000 gift into 500 Visa gift cards, the release said.

The TD Charitable Foundation absorbed the fee normally associated with purchasing gift cards so the full value of the donors’ gift could go to the recipients.

“We were overjoyed to learn of the heartwarming exchanges between our local law enforcement officers and grateful recipients when we did this last year,” the donors said when arranging a second year of the program.

“No one knows the individuals who would benefit from this bit of holiday cheer better than the men and women who patrol our streets and ensure our safety, and we are honored that they would be our representatives in this distribution,” the donor said.