Archive for Thursday, December 11, 2008

Police’s Christmas effort underway again

December 11, 2008

Once again, the Baldwin City Police Department has an effort underway to make Christmas better for the community’s less fortunate.

This is the sixth year the police department has headed an effort for community members to choose a local family to provide gifts and food for during the holiday season.

“I’ve interviewed hundreds of police officers over the years and one thing you always hear is they want to help the public. They want to give something back,” said Police Chief Mike McKenna. “Normally people see police officers in the wrong light, fixing something that is wrong. It’s a crisis situation.

“The idea we came up with six years ago to help people who are down and out gives the police officers the opportunity to do something positive rather than be in a negative role.”

Since the program was introduced, many people have responded and many Baldwin City families who might otherwise have nothing for Christmas have benefited.

“I’m convinced the people of Baldwin City, when they learn there’s a need for something, they will step forward and make it happen,” said McKenna. “They’ve shown that to me every year by coming in here (to the police station) and taking names to help. I’m real happy that this year a couple of organizations decided to help out in these tough economic times.

“It says volumes about the community that can make someone’s Christmas happy by giving to someone and knowing they are going to get up Christmas day and have a gift to open and have food to eat,” he said. “They’re not asking for iPods or expensive gifts. They are asking for necessities. Basic things like clothes. That tells you something when people ask for basic things, not new TVs or something. It shows where they’re at. I’m proud to be a part of that and the officers are, too.”

Joining the effort so far this year is the Rotary Club and the Rainbow Experience Preschool. They’ve taken names of families to help out. Anyone can go to the police station an obtain names.

“I am just very thankful to see them participate in this,” he said of the organizations. “I would encourage anyone who wants a good Christmas experience to go in on this. Everything goes to the people of Baldwin City.

“Each year we’ve done this it has grown and grown and grown and I hope it continues to grow,” said McKenna. “I feel very strongly that a child should have something to open and be able to eat something good. When you help someone in times of trouble, you reduce the possibility of things happening that are a detriment to the community. Every year we have different families who need help.”

The department is hoping to have the effort wrapped up by Dec. 20.

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