Driving rain, howling wind, a global pandemic. Nothing was going to stop the delivery of gifts to families in need in Hoquiam on Monday.
The annual Shop with a Cop event looked a little different this year, but Santa and Mrs. Claus with lots of help from the Hoquiam police and fire departments delivered the Christmas cheer on a blustery Monday afternoon.
Six families were selected by the Hoquiam School District and ornaments were hung on the police department’s giving tree with their needs. Along with those six families, others in the neighborhoods were treated to gifts thanks to local donations.
“Because of the generosity of the community, we also delivered extra presents to other children at different stops, especially in the area of Grizzly Lane,” said Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers.
“The community has been very generous as the Hoquiam Police Officer’s Association raised $6,500 for the event,” said Hoquiam Sgt. Shane Krohn.
Among the challenges of the cancellation of the typical Shop with a Cop event was, rather than the kids gathering together for breakfast and a trip to spend a $100 Walmart gift card, departments delivered the gifts to the families’ homes.
“We learned from other agencies who have shared their experiences when delivering their gifts to bring overflow gifts for other children who may be present at apartment buildings and duplexes when Santa arrives,” said Krohn. “Thankfully, we had a bunch of extra toys and items donated by both a citizen and the Grays Harbor Subies Club — the Subaru car club who recently did a toy drive in Hoquiam — and had extra gifts.”
The family on Grizzly Lane stood on the front porch and got gifts from Santa and Mrs. Claus, played by Neal and BJ Fisher. Fire and police personnel joined them, then fanned out through the neighborhood to provide gifts to other kids in the neighborhood. Children who came out to see what the flashing lights were about were greeted and given gifts. One, a Big Wheel style tricycle, barely hit a front porch before its young rider tore off through the rain down the walkway.
Santa and Mrs. Claus rode on the Hoquiam ladder truck. Gifts were loaded in the police department’s special operations vehicle — normally used as a mobile command post — at the police station. The caravan with other police and fire vehicles paraded around town for hours to each family’s home.
Each of the six families were given a hardbound copy of the children’s book “The Giving Tree” with a special sticker inside commemorating this year’s event. Both the Hoquiam Police Officers and Firefighters associations provided each family with $100 Walmart gift cards. Each family also received a gift certificate for a holiday meal at Swanson’s and festive Christmas lights to decorate their homes.
“I would like to thank Sgt. Krohn, OM Wertanen and records specialist Young for all the extra efforts to make this happen; especially considering COVID tried to shut us down this year!” said Myers. “It’s nice to enjoy such a great support in our community and take some time to share with those who can use a little extra help. It was a good reminder the best gift is that what you give to someone else.”