A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 10, 2006
Brown Santa

"Brown Santa” is a program by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office (and Williamson County) to distribute Christmas toys. It started a little later than San Antonio’s Blue Santa police program. Santas come in many different colors in Texas!


Brown Santa
Project Brown Santa is a community service of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and the many sponsors and volunteers who make it happen each year.

Brown Santa started in 1981 with a few deputies helping about 25 families in the unincorporated areas of Travis County. Brown Santa hopes to help about 1200 families this season.

Brown Santa FAQ
Where is Brown Santa located?
Each and every year Brown Santa’s headquarters is provided by the graces of an individual or a company which donates the use of a building.
Brown Santa HQ
5555 Airport Blvd
Austin,TX 78751
Phone: (512) 24-SANTA [247-2682]

How can my organization assist Brown Santa this year?
Brown Santa could use your assistance in collecting toys or non-perishable food items and then bring those items to the warehouse.  Your group might be interested in distributing Brown Santa plastic bags to residences in your neighborhood for collection of donated items.  You may deliver the bags one day and then go back at a later date to pick up the donated items and deliver them to the Brown Santa Warehouse.  Brown Santa provides your group the bags and letters requesting donations.

How can I schedule my youth or volunteer group to assist with Brown Santa?
Call Brown Santa at 24-SANTA and request to be scheduled.  Remember to schedule early in the program, as it occasionally becomes difficult to schedule volunteers near the delivery date.  This occurs because of limited space at the warehouse.  Brown Santa begins signing up volunteers November 1st of each year.

How much time should I plan for my group to volunteer at Brown Santa?
It could be for a couple of hours or an entire day.  We have a drink vending machines, but you are welcome to bring drinks and even a lunch. 

How many Adult sponsors do we need to have to participate with Brown Santa?
Youth groups and school age groups must meet the minimum youth to adult ratio:
Age 12 any younger - 3 youth per each adult
Age 13 and older - 6 youth per each adult

When is Brown Santa Open?
Brown Santa is Open beginning Monday November 27th 10am-8pm at Brown Santa HQ. and completes with the delivery on Monday, December 18, 2006:
Pflugerville at 9:00am at NE Metropolitan Park, 2703 E. Pecan Street, and Tuesday, December 19, 2006: 
Del Valle parking lot behind the rural center at 9:30AM of this year.  The hours are:
Sunday:  Noon - 6PM
Monday - Thursday 10AM - 8PM
Friday & Saturday 9AM - 6PM

How can my family or group assist with delivery to the families?
Brown Santa completes delivery on December Monday, December 18, 2006:
Pflugerville at 9:00am at NE Metropolitan Park, 2703 E. Pecan Street and Tuesday, December 19, 2006: 
Del Valle parking lot behind the rural center at 9:30AM.  All items are loaded into large commercial trucks and taken to a location, such as a Rural Community Center, where the recipients meet Brown Santa and receives their Christmas dinner and toys.  A limited amount of volunteers are needed and you will need to sign up at the warehouse.

Where can I drop off a donation?
At Brown Santa HQ
5555 Airport Blvd
Austin,TX 78751

All HEB Stores in Travis County (except for Central Markets)
Travis County Buildings
TX DOT locations
There are collection point at several local schools for (not for public drop offs)

What is the last date I can make a donation?
Last collection of barrels:
December 19, 2006
Last date to drop items at the Brown Santa HQ
December 19, 2006
Last date to send a monetary donation
It is never too late. But don’t delay. Mail to:
PO Box 207
Austin, TX 78767-0207
or bring to Brown Santa HQ.

What items does Brown Santa need?
New toys* for
Boys - ages 10-16: Wallets, electronics, “stuff” for teenagers.
Girls - ages 10-16: Hair dryers, curling irons, purses, wallets, electronics, “stuff” for teenagers.
* Updated throughout the season to reflect current need
Cash donations for purchase of turkeys non- perishable food items
Donate quickly, safely, securely - online
Or Mail to:
PO Box 207
Austin, TX 78767-0207
Or bring to Brown Santa HQ.

I had some extra time one day and showed up to volunteer, but I didn’t call ahead — and I was turned away. What’s that all about?
First, Brown Santa really does need your help. It is important to call ahead because volunteers are scheduled so the right number of people are on hand for the jobs available. Appearances can be deceiving. The workroom might be empty at a given moment, but a wave of volunteers from a group may be arriving shortly. Possibly the only available tasks may require a larger number of people — such as putting up food packages. Calling ahead helps Brown Santa have the help when it is needed and avoids disappointment for all involved.

What are similar programs serving other areas?
Other Brown Santa programs:
Williamson County (TX) http://www.williamson-county.org/santa.html
Blue Santa Programs:
Austin (TX) http://www.bluesanta.org/
Pflugerville (TX) http://www.cityofpflugerville.com/Departments/Poli ce/BLUE%20SANTA%20INFO.htm
Bastrop County - Pink Santa

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, December 10, 2006 • Permalink