SUSANVILLE, CA - Once again this year the Susanville Police Officer’s Association will be giving Santa a hand, collecting money and taking a group of well-deserved local kids shopping at Wal-Mart for a present they can play with Christmas morning. At the annual ‘Holiday with a Hero’ party children will be provided with gift cards and escorted through the store by members of the Susanville Police Department, along with first-responders, emergency personnel and law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the county.
“The heroes who come to this event to shop with the children include Susanville PD, Susanville FD, Lassen County Sheriffs, California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire, Corrections Officers, and more. The children who participate are unable to receive Christmas Gifts any other way, many are in foster care, or in families who receive assistance from the state/county. I remember reading a couple of years ago that one or two children only wanted a warm winter coat. Things like this make me proud to live and work in Lassen County”, said UPEC Local 792 Executive Board member Bob Shockley.
According to Officer Terra Avilla, one of the driving forces behind the annual event, the program has already accepted 121 kids this year – topping 2016’s numbers. Avilla said that our community’s generosity has made ‘Holiday with a Hero’ the single largest program of its kind anywhere in the nation. “This year we received nominations from third-party organizations,” explains Avilla, who gathered names of applicants from local schools, churches and social workers.
Funding for the event comes from money raised by the annual Police Officer’s Ball, held each October, along with generous donations made by the community.
“We have already received a huge amount of support from the community in donations – from Rotary, Town and Country Real Estate, Sierra Jewelry Company, Lassen High School ASB, Lassen High Cadet Corps, California Correctional Center, High Desert State Prison, the Lassen College Baseball Program and hundreds of other individual community members who have donated.”
The kids arrive at daybreak in the WalMart garden center where they waited for Santa’s big arrival. First, everyone is treated to a parade of participating law enforcement agencies, fire companies and first responders, followed by Santa’s entrance in a helicopter.
Once inside the store the children are paired up with ‘Santa’s Helpers’ from a wide variety of agencies who take them on a shopping adventure in the WalMart toy section. Kids are entertained by the players from the Lassen College baseball team who sing songs and play games with the little shoppers.
The Holiday with a Hero event is completely supported by community fundraising and of course any monetary contributions you make are appreciated immensely by both the organization and by the kids helped by the program.
100% of your donation goes directly to the child’s shopping spree. Donors are invited to come spend the morning at the store and see the looks on the faces of the children as they get to shop for Christmas.
Donations or Wal-Mart gift cards can be dropped off at the Police Department, 1801 Main Street.