By Mary O’KEEFE
Today, Thursday, Glendale police and staff went to Home Depot and picked up 20 Christmas trees that will be given to 20 families.
Some may take for granted that the holidays include a tree but for those in need and wondering how to feed their family – let alone buy presents or a tree to place them under – everything is a decision made with a heavy heart.
In what has become a tradition over two decades, the Glendale Police Dept. is doing its part to make the holidays a little easier for several families. The Glendale Cops for Kids program is actually 25 years old; providing Christmas trees was added to the program’s donation drive about 15 years ago.
“We got the [trees] at Home Depot thanks to an anonymous donation,” said Agent Keith Soboleski.
Christmas tree stands were purchased thanks to Cops for Kids and this afternoon police began putting the trees together for the big delivery tonight. The families will even receive lights to place on the trees. Then next week Cops for Kids will deliver presents to the families so they will have something to place under their trees.
Tonight, as with next week, the deliveries will be done by police officers including GPD Chief of Police Robert Castro.
Soboleski added the kids are really excited when the officers come with the trees and the presents.
When an officer shows up at a home it is usually because there is a victim inside or someone is in trouble with the law but trips like tonight’s and next week are completely different.
“Most of our contacts are negative,” Soboleski said. “This is all positive. We are showing up and bringing them gifts.”
The official holiday toy drive began with donation sites at Glendale Galleria on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) and at other events. There is also a donation area at the main GPD station in Glendale.
But the need does not stop with the holidays.
“After Christmas, too. Things happen during the year,” said Amy Tate, Cops for Kids chairperson.
Tate explained there are times when a child is taken into child custody or there is some issue within the family when a toy is of great comfort.
In addition to the 20 families that will receive a Cops for Kids delivery there will also be a time when shelter families can come to the station and pick out toys for their children.
Tate reaches out to local schools to get names of those in need; those families fill out applications. There are applications available at the station as well.
Anyone who would like to donate a new toy, gift card or funds can do so by bringing it to the main GPD station at 131 N. Isabel Street, Glendale or for those in the Crescenta Valley area they can drop items off at the GPD Substation at 3808 Ocean View Blvd. in Montrose on Fridays.
The Cops for Kids is asking for toys for all ages – gift cards work best for teenagers – and they are also asking for new clothing.
“Some kids have to walk to school, so their parents are asking for jackets, sweatshirts, gloves anything to keep them warm,” Tate said.