The Buckeye Police Department and community members put together an event to help those in need during the holidays.
A Christmas Cause took place Saturday, Dec. 14. The event took place at Buckeye Elementary School and it was designed to invite the parents of underprivileged kids and give them presents for their families. Each family would leave with enough toys and wrapping paper for Christmas morning.
Don McWilliams of the Buckeye Police Department said this is the sixth year the event has taken place. It is sponsored by the Buckeye Super Heroes, a nonprofit focusing on helping the community.
“The Buckeye Superheroes came together six years ago for the betterment of the community,” McWilliams said. “This year we have 1,313 students.”
McWilliams said parents had to register for the event and pick a time to attend. Each kid received a toy between $15 and $25, a book, a lap blanket, puzzles, a game, personal hygiene items and stockings, all of which could be wrapped by the parents at the event.
“We try to make this a total Christmas experience,” McWilliams said. “The parents come in and all of the toys are displayed on the bleachers. They walk around with the hostess and takes them to the age-appropriate section for their children and pick out a gift.”
The event was held in the school’s gymnasium, but it looked like a toy and gift convention. The floor was stocked with different tables, each having a different age range of toys. There were a couple of dozens of parents at a time walking around picking the best gift for their children.
McWilliams said this event is important to the police department because of their constant exposure to people who are in need.
“As a police department, we see on a daily basis, sometimes the worst and we see those are in need,” McWilliams said. “Part of our job is not just to be police officers and handle the law by it’s also to see the needs of the community when we can.”
In addition, McWilliams said it is important for kids to experience positive encounters with the police department. Often times, kids only see police during difficult times, and they don’t understand police officers can be regular people, McWilliams said.
This event serves as an opportunity to strengthen the bond between the community and its police department.
“I think it just helps build relationship,” McWilliams. “They (kids) get to see the police in a totally different light here. The police are people and they want to be helpful and it’s just been a tremendous impact on the community.”