On Friday, the Beatrice Police Department will be heading to the Beatrice YMCA in full force.

Officers have about 200 presents to deliver that they collected during the Stuff the Cruiser event outside of Wal-Mart the weekend after Thanksgiving, and the YMCA will be working with officers to get the gifts to local children in need.

On Dec. 12, children from around the area who are in need of a merry Christmas will come to the YMCA to pick out a free gift. But before they get there, the whole place needs a fresh coat of Christmas magic.

On Tuesday night, volunteers and employees of the Beatrice YMCA were on hand in an upstairs room, getting everything ready for the kids, building giant lollipops, snowflakes and candy canes.

Callie Lamkin, Brandel Riekenberg and Missy Lamkin were standing at a table building a fire to put inside a fireplace that was still being constructed in the corner.

Cutting out various shapes of paper, Callie Lamkin had built about three flames of the total four they needed for the fireplace.

“And we have to make six stockings,” she said.

They’re expecting about 100 kids to show up next Wednesday, which is about the same as last year, Shely Bauman said.

So far, 85 children are signed up for the program, which means there are still about 15 spots open. They’re hoping to have all the applications turned in by this Friday, she said.

People turned out in droves for the Stuff the Cruiser event at Wal-Mart, Bauman said. There were people who remembered the event from last year, as well as some new faces, wanting to give kids in need something good for Christmas.

Bauman commended the Beatrice Police Department, saying that the police do the heavy lifting and the hard work, while the YMCA handles the fun part of doling out the gifts.

Next Wednesday, when the children come in, she wants them walking into a winter wonderland. Toys will be separated into different age groups and unwrapped so that children can pick out exactly the gift they want.

“We hope that it's an event that they'll remember,” Bauman said. “That's what we're trying to create here.”

Applications can be picked up at the front desk of the Beatrice YMCA at 1801 Scott St. in Beatrice.