Each child visited with an assigned officer while they ate a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Breakfast was interrupted briefly by a loud and clear “Ho, ho, ho” from the jolliest of souls, Santa Claus himself. After being greeted with hugs by a few incredibly eager children, he visited each table to give Christmas greetings.
With hunger satisfied, the children got an exciting ride to Walmart in the emergency vehicles, lights flashing and Christmas music blaring from the PA systems. Once inside, the glorious chaos ensued as each pair of officers and children grabbed a cart and started shopping! Most went straight for the toys, naturally. Officer Heath Harvey of the HCPD said this is his favorite part: to go through the aisles with the child, have them pick something out, and see their faces when they realize they will receive the item. It’s something they most likely haven’t experienced before!
Back in the customer service department at the wrapping station, volunteers waited with an abundance of paper, tape, and scissors. Many of the volunteers present were from the Park City Home Builders Association, who even sponsored a hot cocoa truck for the officers and participants. The association has been financial patrons of the program for more than 20 years, but this was their first experience being present at the event. They were impressed at how the valley’s several public service departments came together to make the event memorable and run smoothly.
The volunteers worked tirelessly, wrapping and labeling each gift for more than an hour. Hearts were touched as they would wrap a gift, and the child would explain that it was for their brother or sister, mom, or grandma. One little girl seemed to have every gift allocated to someone other than herself, exemplifying the idea that giving can bring as much joy as receiving.
Now that the gifts are chosen and wrapped, guardians will take them home to wait until Christmas Day. Thank you to all of the officers, Walmart, the Homestead, Park City Home Builders Association, financial sponsors, and other volunteers who made it possible for so many children to have a unique and memorable day.