Cops for Tots brings cheer to doorsteps

By Colleen Truelsen
Osawatomie Graphic – December 26, 2013

Santa’s helpers, in the form of Osawatomie’s volunteer firefighters and friends, brought Christmas cheer to the doorstep of 85 families Saturday when fire trucks rolled through town for the annual Cops for Tots deliveries.

At the same time, elves from Moon’s Hometown Market delivered a complete holiday meal to 82 local families.

Though icy streets were in the forecast, Fire Chief DuWayne Tewes said crews were undaunted.

“Rain or shine,” he said, “we’ll figure it out either way.”

The weather cooperated — at least until early evening — and all was delivered with nary a slip.

Generosity made it possible for this year’s Miami County Sheriff’s Office-sponsored program to forgo the annual auction to raise funds to make Christmas dreams come true.

“We felt we had adequate enough funds at this time that we didn’t want to do one this year,” said Sheriff Frank Kelly. “We want to pass out some more money to the organizations that are needed in Miami County over the next few months, and then we’ll have an auction next year.”

Cops for Tots funds a bag of groceries for those in need, and Mike Moon, Moon’s Hometown Market owner, said the sheriff’s department develops the holiday meal food list and his store employees work hard to keep the prices low for the feast.

Families received ham, cans of vegetables, stuffing, potatoes, dinner rolls, margarine and a pie.

Moon said store volunteers head out to do the deliveries each year, while others work on organizing the bags.

“We get a lot of satisfaction out of it,” he said. “Sometimes the recipient is emotional. For some of the families, they would not have a holiday meal without this.”

Kelly said accepting charity is not always easy for those on the receiving end.

“Sometimes it’s tough for families to take something from someone when they’re going through tough times,” he said. “We have our pride — all of us do. But when there’s communities that want to support their own community throughout the year, that’s what this is all about. It humbles us.”

Kelly said families who have been helped in the past and find themselves in better times come out to volunteer.

“It’s teaching each of us about giving and receiving,” he said. “We never know where we’re going to be at in life, and when people are down, they need help.”

Some refuse to ask for the help they need, Kelly said.

“Once we find out a family needs some help, we put together the volunteers or those that want to go out and help that family, and it’s done, taken care of, and that’s one last thing they have to worry about. It just helps out.

“It’s huge. It’s really huge,” he added. “Sometimes you just can’t put words to it.”

– Charity Keitel

contributed to this report.

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