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Police adopt family in need for the holidays

 

January 7, 2015

Officer Colt Davis decorates stockings that the Mukilteo Police Department then filled with toys and candy for eight local children in need.

Around Christmastime, Mukilteo police didn't just respond to 911 calls – they got to become Santa’s helpers.

Typically, the Mukilteo Police Department hosts Shop with a Cop, an event where local children in need shop for gifts for themselves and their families. Each child receives $50, sometimes more.

This year, however, instead of hosting its own shopping event, the department adopted a Mukilteo family in need for Christmas.

Endeavour Elementary, one of the Mukilteo School District schools that nominates children from low-income families for Shop with a Cop, asked police officers for extra holiday help.

A family of four had been nominated last year, but now they needed help more than ever: The father lost his job, the mother has cancer and they couldn’t afford Christmas presents for their two children, 11 and 7.

“I was contacted by Endeavour, and they said a family did Shop with a Cop with us last year, and that things have gotten worse for them,” Officer Colt Davis said. “The dad is not working because he’s taking care of his wife. They desperately needed help.

“I asked the chief if we could adopt the family.”

Police Chief Rex Caldwell gave the OK.

“Picking one family was rewarding, as we were able to make a greater impact for the entire family,” Caldwell said. “We support a number of charitable organizations, and this project is an extension of those efforts.

“There is a great need in our community that is sometimes ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Our officers see it every day and help in many ways.”

As requested, the father emailed the department a Christmas wish list for his family. At the top of the list were winter coats and boots for his wife, son, daughter and himself.

Then, of course, he listed toys for their children: Lego sets, a remote-control Jeep, the Wii U Nintendo game system and the movie “Despicable Me.”

In turn, Davis sent a mass email to the community, asking for donations to help the adopted family.

“We bought them coats and shoes, and other basic needs,” Davis said. “Then we reached out to the community.”

He was stunned by the response.

“The community really helped us,” Davis said. “It was remarkable to see [everyone] come together to help one family.”

Within a week, the community had donated most of the toys from the wish list, coats, cash and a Christmas turkey.

In addition, each child received $100 to buy their own gifts.

While the kids were shopping on Dec. 18, officers delivered the gifts.

When they got back from shopping, Davis said the kids were surprised to see all the presents under their Christmas tree.

“They were not expecting that,” he said.

Though the Mukilteo Police Department didn’t host their own Shop with a Cop, officers still helped out at Mountlake Terrace Police Department’s event.

At the Dec. 3 event, Mukilteo’s and six other police departments teamed up to shop for gifts with 100 kids from Snohomish County who each received $50.

The holiday help didn’t stop there.

As officers reached out about their adopted family, they connected again with the school district to help eight more children in need. Davis asked the community to donate to this cause, too.

“We couldn’t take them shopping, but I asked them to write down a wish list so we could make stockings,” Davis said.

The department had some leftover stockings from last year’s Shop with a Cop, so officers offered to decorate and fill them for the kids. The stockings, decorated with each child’s name in glitter glue, were also delivered on Dec. 18.

“We went shopping and got things off of their wish list – and extra stuff, too,” Davis said.

Davis said he loved to watch the kids’ reactions as they opened up their stockings.

“They were so excited and so appreciative of what we did,” Davis said. “They couldn’t believe that we got them this stuff. It was ‘How did you know I wanted this?!’ and ‘How did you know I wanted that?!’

“It was really enjoyable.”

He said he and his fellow police officers look forward to Shop with a Cop and other events like it every year because they’re seen in a more positive light.

“Police officers get a bad rap,” he said. “We’re the ones who pull you over, or arrest you and take you to jail. It’s all negative.

“We’re not just here to enforce laws; we want to help. When we’re shopping with kids or making stockings, it’s cool to be seen in that different light.”

 

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