From my family to yours, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.
The Christmas for Kids event was organized by the Dunwoody Police Department to ensure that every Dunwoody child was able to celebrate the season. The celebration touched my heart and I wanted to share the video above and the recap below was taken from the January edition of the "On the Beat" police newsletter written by Dunwoody Police Explorer, Sgt. Kelly Harrison. I am so very proud to be a part of this fine community, thank you for your generosity.
On December 17th the Dunwoody Police Department held the first annual Christmas For Kids Party at North Peachtree Baptist Church. When the kids entered the church, the festive atmosphere consumed them and their faces lit up. First, dinner was served as elves danced around the room spreading Christmas cheer. Then, the children listened to Dr. Tony Romans, the senior pastor, as he explained the true meaning of Christmas. Next, Officer Fidel Espinoza, who was a key contributor to making the night a success, welcomed all of the children and had an amazing surprise to share. The excitement of the kids went through the roof when Officer Espinoza announced that Santa Clause himself was on his way. The children ran to the window to watch Santa’s arrival. Santa walked through the door and immediately was greeted with many hugs. Each child sat in Santa’s lap and received five presents. The joy and appreciation on both the children’s and the parents’ faces were clear to see.
Officer Espinoza sums up the night as “an absolute success”, but this did not come easily. The night was a long time in the making. Over Officer Espinoza’s 14 years of being a police officer he has never seen “such a supportive and appreciative community as Dunwoody”. However, he realized that there are two distinct sides of Dunwoody: a wealthier side and a less privileged side. He wanted to bring all sides of Dunwoody together to help make everybody’s Christmas special. So, Officer Espinoza had the idea of throwing this party both to help others, but also to get all of Dunwoody aware and involved. It was important to Officer Espinoza that this party not solely be an officer event. After all, one of the Dunwoody Police mission statements is to engage the public to do good things for the entire community. So, a developed committee made up of police officers, civilians, city employees, and business owners was formed to help make the party a success. They reached out to the community by asking for help and support. Immediately hundreds of volunteers responded and helped in one way or another. Thanks to the great effort from so many generous people, over 100 children were able to attend the party. The children were hand picked by officers. Through coming into contact with the children and the community’s guidance, officers were able to pick families that really needed help.
Thanks to the communities overwhelming desire to help, there are many presents left over. Of the remaining gifts, 300-500 will be donated to Scottish Rite Hospital and many other charities. Also, officers on duty Christmas Day will load up their patrol cars with presents in case they run into any children in need. The first ever Christmas For Kids party was an unbelievable event, which could not have happened without the community’s effort. Officer Espinoza remarks, “I can’t wait for next year. It will be even bigger and better”.