Through the generosity of our community we have had two opportunities to Christmas shop this week with kids from families that need a little help.
On Saturday, Dec. 5th we were at Meijer on Brown Road shopping with 30 kids from Avondale School District. It is a great group effort of police, the Morning Optimist Club of Auburn Hills, the Auburn Hills Police Officers Association, Avondale Youth Assistance, Avondale School District and Meijer.
Last night, Dec. 9th we were at Target with 15 kids from the Pontiac School District. It was also a great group effort of police, Pontiac Youth Assistance, Target and RGIS on Taylor Road who has given us a generous donation the last 2 years. The Target team goes all out — they had shopper helpers and wrappers. We spent a little bit over what we had and Target loss prevention came up with a gift card to help us out! They have a great community spirit at the corporate and the store level in their personnel.
(Two of our employees are not pictured – Records Clerk Jeanne Tyler and PSO Christine Page- they shopped and wrapped like crazy.)
The adults help kids shop for their families, not for themselves, for Christmas then we wrap all the gifts and they go home with beautiful wrapped packages and happy faces. The kids are thrilled to be able to buy gifts for their families. We have had kids buy winter coats, hats and gloves for parents they worry about being cold walking to work. Kids who bought baby formula. We saw kids buying pajamas for family members and other necessities of life. I saw carts with sox and underwear, dishes, pots and pans. One child last night bought 3 gifts for his dog –more than for any other member of his family! I saw one big brother buying Ninja Turtles toys and themed sox and underwear for his little brother.
Last night, one little girl, about 7 or 8 was there with her little brother. She saw Officer Metter Smith pull up in her patrol car and said “Oh no, the police are here” with a look of concern on her face. (You have to wonder what her life experiences are). Mr. Melvin Lee told her that it was ok – the police are here to help us in an attempt to calm her obvious fears. We made sure she had a chance to meet the engaging Officer Smith. The little brother was quite curious about Officer Smith but he wasn’t sure he wanted to admit that he was curious about all the things she carries on her belt! Maybe they will leave the event with a different idea of who the police are. I hope so.
As we were checking out, a father and 3 kids came rushing in with shopping lists and anxious faces. Turns out that they were looking for a police shopping event that they learned about through their school in Troy. Dad lives out here and mom lost the letter with details of the event – like location & time. I called my friend Chief Gary Mayer of Troy but their event was the previous night. He remembered that Royal Oak Police were doing an event at Meijer in Royal Oak the next night. I called Chief Corey O’Donoghue and he confirmed and got their name so he can look for them. I was glad to be able to direct them to their event so they didn’t miss out. Meijer is generous in every community they are located.
This can be a tough time of year for families with lots of extra expenses and there isn’t much left over for Christmas gifts once the family bills are paid. We get to see that up close and personal every year at this time. So these events add a little something for these kids and their families at a time when things may not be going so great at home.
We’ve been doing this event for both Avondale and Pontiac for many, many years but we could never do it without the generosity of the businesses in our community. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!