(CBS) — The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Operation Santa got underway this morning, bearing gifts and support for the families of injured and fallen police officers reports WBBM’s Mike Krauser.

The motorcade carried Santa and Mrs. Claus, played by retired police officers, and some police officers were dressed bravely as elves.

Police Memorial Foundation executive director Phil Cline said they were visiting 11 families this weekend.

“By us coming there and showing they’re still part of the police family, it brings a lot of joy to these families,” Cline said.

The annual event comes at a time where there is a lot of anti-police sentiment, Cline said.

“Police are getting beat up all around the country so it is even more important that we do what we’re doing today,” Cline said.

He thanked the donors, individuals and businesses, including Macy’s who helped to make this happen and help the families the rest of the year with tuition and other expenses.