Christmas gifts arrive early for children in Laurel

LAUREL — Jolly Old St. Nick dropped in for a special visit Monday at the Laurel Police Department.

Community outreach was a glow in holiday spirit on Christmas Eve Day in a gift-giving program that reached dozens of families and approximately 170 children.

Gifts presented — assorted board games and approximately 40 bicycles — were donated to the Laurel Police Department Community Outreach Program from Walmart through its Smyrna-based distribution center.

Santa Claus, appropriately wearing bib overhauls for his special stop in Sussex County, greeted children before they received their gifts.

Board games included Thomas the Tank, Nerf, Mancala, Dominoes, Cribbage and Chess & Checkers.

“I feel happy,” said five-year-old Jae’ceon German. “I really want a present. I have been a good boy.”

Sunday, Dec. 23, was the wrap session. Delhaila Granados, wife of Laurel Police Cpl. Carlos Granados, a School Resource Officer in the Laurel School District, was among the volunteers who wrapped more than 270 gifts.

“We wrapped probably for a good eight hours … when you have over 270 gifts!” said Ms. Granados. “And each child’s gift was personalized.”

“For me, I feel that I am able to give back to the children and families that are not as fortunate. For me instead of me receiving, I’d rather give,” said Ms. Granados.

“This volunteer time, putting all of this together and being able to give to somebody else is just a good experience. A lot of families during this time are without a parent or have a loss. It means being able to something to open up.”

The town of Laurel maintenance crew pitched in, assembling all the bicycles so they were ready to ride.

Laurel Police Department worked in conjunction with the Laurel School District in identifying needy children in elementary and middle school. “The administration gave us the names of the families,” said Cpl. Granados.

“That is our target, the ones that may not be getting anything,” said Laurel Police Chief Dan Wright. “We don’t pick the children. We leave that up to the schools.”

This effort accentuates Laurel’s commitment to community policing.

“We really target community policing effort. We’re big in the community. We have designated officers, they have to do some many business checks and so many community checks daily. That means getting out of their car and interacting,” Chief Wright said.

“We’re hoping to do this every year,” said Laurel Police Department spokesman Cpl. Christopher Story. “We keep getting more and more (need) every year. Last year we just had the bicycles.”


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