Po­lice run toy drive

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Michael Alan Gold­berg mgold­berg@jour­nalregis­ter.com

A car­a­van of nearly P0 RI­fiFHrs DnG sWDIIHrs IrRP the Towa­mencin Town­ship mo­lice aepart­ment — with some of their fam­ily mem­bers, as well as Santa, in tow — spread hol­i­day cheer Christ­mas Eve morn­ing as they de­liv­ered toys, food and cloth­ing to a dozen needy fam­i­lies in the area.

It was the cul­mi­na­tion of the de­part­ment’s sec­ond an­nual Hol­i­day dift and Food arive, which be­gan just be­fore Thanks­giv­ing and brought in well over $N0,000 worth of items that were dropped off in do­na­tion boxes at var­i­ous area busi­nesses (in­clud­ing Star­bucks, To­tal Body Fit­ness and Ap­ple­bee’s), or brought to po­lice head­quar­ters over the past sev­eral weeks, said po­lice spe­cial­ist C.J. Yoder, who helped or­ga­nize the drive.

“It’s in­cred­i­ble to see how much stuff came in, we at least dou­bled what we got last year,” said Yoder, who cred­ited Shop oite for do­nat­ing fresh food to the cause and the Hop­wood School & Camp for pro­vid­ing $N,400 worth of gift cards.

“meo­ple in the com­mu­nity really stepped up and they’re very char­i­ta­ble, and it made it all worth the while to get the stuff to the peo­ple who nHHG LW,” sDLG RI­fiFHr 7rDvis Wood, pres­i­dent of the Towa­mencin mo­lice Benev­o­lent As­so­ci­a­tion. “And we had Santa with us, so that put it over the top.”

“It’s a good way to kick off the hol­i­day sea­son,” said Towa­mencin po­lice Chief Tim aick­in­son. “It means a lot to them and it means a lot to us, and it’s nice to see how much the com­mu­nity cares.”

Yoder and book­ing tech­ni­cian Kelly malermo said that a to­tal of P4 kids — from tod­dlers to N7-year-olds — benH­fiWHG IrRP WKH GRnDWLRns. The TTma got the names of fam­i­lies through the chil­dren’s schools and con­tacted WKHP DKHDG RI WLPH WR finG out what the kids needed. A few days be­fore the de­liv­ery, the de­part­ment’s main cor- ri­dor was packed with boxes RYHr­flRwLnJ wLWK GRnDWLRns and mem­bers of the de­part­ment and their fam­i­lies spent days gift wrap­ping ev­ery­thing be­fore load­ing it all up in their ve­hi­cles and head­ing out at 9 a.m. Mon­day morn­ing.

“We got to peo­ple’s houses and put their things un­der the tree, and the kids’ eyes were just ... it was ... wow,” Yoder said. “mar­ents were cry­ing, kids were cry­ing, we were cry­ing.”

“To see their faces, there’s really no words for it,” malermo said. “The smaller kids were like, ‘lh Santa’s here!’ where the older kids were like, ‘Wow, I’m gonna get some of the stuff I really need.’ I mean, we’re giv­ing peo­ple cloth­ing. It’s not like we’re giv­ing them all toys.”

malermo and Yoder ex­plained that some of the IDPLOLHs wHrH sWruJJOLnJ fi­nan­cially due to lay­offs or med­i­cal is­sues. lne woman with four chil­dren was liv­ing on $85 ev­ery two weeks, they said.

“lne of the girls was ask­ing for bras,” said Yoder. “That’s when you know it’s tough, when they need strangers to get them per­sonal items.”

A num­ber of de­part­ment RI­fiFHrs DnG sWDIIHrs ErRuJKW their chil­dren along on the de­liv­er­ies “be­cause when you’re a kid and you see kids the same age as you who need things, I think it de­vel­ops com­pas­sion,” said malermo. “I think it’s an im­por­tant les­son to learn.”

So im­pressed were they by the out­pour­ing of do­na­tions this year, the de­part­ment hopes to up the num­ber of IDPLOLHs wKR EHnH­fiW IrRP the drive to at least N5 next year. And, aick­in­son noted, in ad­di­tion to bright­en­ing the hol­i­days for peo­ple in need, the ef­fort was good for the de­part­ment’s own psy­che, too.

“The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple are good and they sup­port what we do. The prob­lem is we don’t deal with them enough,” he said. “Most of the time, we deal with the peo­ple who are the op­po­site, so when that’s what you see all the time, that starts to be­come your re­al­ity. You have to do some­thing like this once in a while to see that most peo­ple are good and really want to help oth­ers.”

Photo by GE­OFF PAT­TON

Jef­frey Scott Kratz, left, helps Towa­mencin Town­ship po­lice book­ing tech­ni­cian Matt Shade and Lt. Jef­frey Kratz move boxes of wrapped gifts for distri­bu­tion Mon­day to area fam­i­lies in need.

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