Quincy police go Christmas shopping with local children
On Dec. 8, the Quincy Police Department made sure the Christmas shopping spree was going to be full of cheer. With lights flashing, a procession of patrol cars arrived at the front door of Shopko in Quincy with 16 children as passengers.
“We have more kids than last year,” Quincy Chief of Police Kieth Siebert said. “Donations have come from Shopko, Akins, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 and private citizens.”
Santa is busy this time of year, as we all know, but not to worry: John Altheizer was standing by the store entrance, dressed in the customary red suit, at 9:30 a.m. He handed out candy canes from a stocking he carried.
The participating officers each partnered up with a family or a young individual, walking along the aisles as the gift selection went on. The schools and Serve Quincy helped in choosing the youths for this year’s free shopping trip.
Officer Julie Fuller was with Aileanae Sprague. The young girl was busy selecting surprises for her family, a hot cocoa mix being one present-to-be for someone – I can’t tell whom. She was also thinking of getting something for herself at the end.
Miguel Mota was looking through the shelves with Officer Michael Kvavle’s assistance. Mota was thinking of her sisters, and about half an hour later I found him and Kvavle in the cosmetics section – I cannot reveal what they had selected, only that it was well done for two young men.
Officer Sal Mancini had four children with him, all happily filling the cart. Mancini was the organizer of the event, both in 2017 and this year. This is the fourth time the Police Department has organized the Christmas shopping activity.
“We have $340 per family,” he said as he hurried along with the children and the cart.
Each officer kept track of the accumulation of gifts and added the cost up as they went along to know when to stop. The young shoppers seemed to be conscious of the budget and chose items with care.
Once the items had been paid for, it was time for wrapping. Three volunteers: Margaret Linder and her daughter Vicki as well as Kristine Vaughn were standing by tables loaded with gift wrapping supplies, ready to help.
Officer Damon Powell had been Justin Sprague’s partner and helped the young shopper spell the names correctly on the packages as they got their final touches at the wrapping station.
“This is a feel-good thing,” Siebert said as the event was coming to an end. “I’m glad we can do it.”
By Jaana Hatton, For the Post-Register