Firefighters and Judicial Officers Bring Christmas Joy to Children | Local News
Thousands of local youth are lining up for some Christmas cheer thanks to the efforts of area public safety officers.
Children will receive gifts at a drive sponsored by local firefighters, hundreds of young people will be invited to a Christmas party sponsored by the Carthage Police Department, and more children will be able to shop with law enforcement officers. law enforcement and local firefighters at events organized throughout the region.
Firefighters from Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction, Redings Mill, Oronogo, Carterville and Duenweg have come together to collect toys for the Christmas campaign for the children of the Joplin area firefighters, according to Adam Grimes, local treasurer 59 professional firefighters from Joplin.
“It started with buying toys for the children of deployed military personnel and has been going on in one form or another for 30 years,” Grimes said. “We are just trying to bring a brighter Christmas to the children in the area.”
He said donations would be accepted until the end of the month as the program is also being used to replace toys for children whose families are victims of house fires or floods. Those seeking vacation help can apply by December 11 at the offices of Mid-America Title Loans, which are the primary corporate sponsor of the effort.
“We are able to help over 1,000 children each year. Not all Christmas presents, as we also buy school supplies for some local Head Starts, ”said Grimes.
Officers from the Joplin Police Department will take at least 100 children shopping on December 12, according to patroller Rick Hirshey, school resources manager at East Middle School.
Youth are selected from all elementary schools in the district based on recommendations from school counselors. He added that more could be added depending on the funding available for the program, which has been in Joplin for at least 20 years.
He said officers from the Seneca Police Department would join the Joplin group. At least 60 young people from Seneca schools will be involved, according to Seneca Police Chief James Altic.
About 110 children will be invited to “shop with an assistant” as part of an effort planned by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, according to Cpl. Matt Smith.
Youth will be selected from schools in Avilla, Jasper and Sarcoxie, where Smith serves as the school resources manager. Others will be appointed by MPs based on needs they saw in responding to calls, Smith said.
The youth will be matched with MPs, state soldiers, local police, members of the Jasper County Juvenile Bureau or the Family Services Division, Smith said, adding that “if they have dealing with children, we invite them “.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Department is also running a “Shop with an Assistant Program” that will serve 75 youth. The Neosho Police Department runs a program that normally serves over 100 youth.
“We have started helping around 40 children, but unfortunately the need is growing every year,” said Sheriff Ken Copeland, who is in charge of the effort. “We’re lucky we don’t have to fundraise. We have a few Newton County residents who fund the program every year.”
Also in Newton County, the Neosho, Diamond, Granby, Seneca and Redings Mill fire departments are gathering for a “Christmas for Kids” toy drive. Volunteers buy the toys and firefighters distribute them in their neighborhoods, according to Mari Mallory of the Neosho Fire Department.
“It’s handled differently by departments,” she said. “In Neosho, parents come to pick them up and some of the smaller neighborhoods deliver them or throw a party for the kids. “
The program is funded by donations from residents or businesses in the area.
In Webb City, 75 young people will be shopping with members of the Webb City Police Department. The effort has been going on for about 15 years, Police Chief Carl Francis said.
He said the funding came mostly from small donations residents can make at Webb City retailers, “and a pretty strong core group of supporters who keep the program going.”
Police chief Delmar Haase said officers and other volunteers from the Carl Junction Police Department are planning a shopping trip involving at least 200 young people.
“We hope it will be around 225 to 250, but it depends on how much money we raise. This is something I was worried about before, but we have some really loyal supporters; the schools are also helping to fundraising, ”he said.
In addition to the youth of Carl Junction, the program also includes children in the Salvation Army’s Joplin Transitional Family Housing Program.
Approximately 600 young people from Carthage will be invited to the annual LaVerne Williams Memorial Christmas party scheduled for December 19 at Carthage Memorial Hall. The event has grown so large in recent years that it has been divided into two sessions. Young people receive a gift card, freebies and a chance to draw for bigger gifts and are entertained by the Duke Mason Band. The long-running program is run by the Carthage Police Department, but involves other city departments and volunteers.
Members of the Pittsburg, Kansas Fire Department will take a dozen school children shopping later this month, according to Rich Wood, a fire captain who coordinates the program. The program is being shot to help young people in all elementary schools in Pittsburg and details are still being planned. The money for the effort comes from donations from firefighters.
Young people who shop are given $ 100 gift cards and often shop for their parents and siblings, as well as themselves, organizers said. Residents who wish to help support the programs can contact individual public safety agencies.