Hundreds of families fallen on tough times will have a little more holiday spirit this Christmas thanks to members of our local law enforcement. Officers and deputies alike distributed hundreds of holiday baskets Thursday.
Members from the Bakersfield Police Dept. and Kern County Sheriff’s Office gathered at the W.A. Thompson Distribution Center in south Bakersfield for the 34th annual Family to Family Christmas Baskets Giveaway program.
In total, 500 baskets were filled to capacity, prepared for delivery to families in need.
“‘it’s really important that we make these positives engagements, that we’re showing up with a smile on our face, “said Ashley South with the KCSO Crime Prevention Unit. “We want them to trust law enforcement [and] show them we care.”
Each family received two boxes. Items including canned food, a turkey, and loaves of bread, among others, were included. Toys for the roughly 1,600 children were also packaged
Once ready to go, the boxes were loaded into patrol cars and sent off to awaiting families. Joel Johnson, an Oildale father of two who has faced challenges as of late, said receiving these holiday baskets helps immensely.
“I was a plumber. Got laid off,” he said. “Times are tough. But man, with these programs, they can really brighten your day.”
Johnson said he was grateful, in part, because his children will have a Merry Christmas thanks to these baskets and toys.
“Christmas is all about the kids. So to see my children happy on Christmas morning. That’s what makes Christmas. That’s what makes the day. Is seeing the kids happy.”
The families receiving the baskets were selected in house by deputies and staff who have come across these families at some point. All baskets that went out today made it to a needy family.