Twenty of Glendale's neediest families will have some Christmas cheer on display in their homes this holiday season.
Officers drove across the city to deliver Christmas trees to low-income families as part of the Glendale Police Officers Assn.'s Cops for Kids program. Donated by an anonymous benefactor, the trees were mounted and set-up by officers around noon on Thursday then delivered to the families later in the afternoon.
"When you get to the door, it's fun," Officer Keith Soboleski said. "You can hear the kids getting excited because the parents have told them we're coming."
Cops for Kids originally started out as delivering presents over 25 years ago, but it expanded to dropping off trees as well about 15 years ago, Soboleski said.
Amy Tate, chairwoman of the program, said the families chosen for tree deliveries first go through a vetting process to ensure they really are in need. Glendale school officials first nominate families they think are deserving. Families can also nominate themselves to be recipients.
Tate said officers then make unannounced visits to the homes to make sure all the information the program received about the families is accurate.
"They just knock on their door to see how they're living, make sure they are in need," she said. "A lot of people apply that aren't needy — we need to help people that actually need help."
Tate said 23 families will benefit from the Cops for Kids program this Christmas with 20 of them being able to accommodate a tree.
Officers will make one more round of deliveries on Dec. 15, when they will bring gifts to put under the trees.
"It's just a joy seeing their smiles," Soboleski said. "Usually most of our stuff have been negative contacts where they've been victims. It's nice going there and having them happy to see us."
Andy Nguyen, firstname.lastname@example.org