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Bingham County law enforcement help fill Christmas lists for local families

December 3, 2022

BLACKFOOT — Fifty local kids got the ride of lifetime on Saturday morning. Each December, the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, Blackfoot Police Department and other regional agencies hold a “Santa’s Helper” event. The holiday shop-a-thon aims to help low income families in the region put presents under the tree. “(The children) are selected through the […] The post Bingham County law enforcement help fill Christmas lists for local families appeared first on East Idaho News .

Law enforcement and emergency responders shop with children on Saturday, Dec 3. | Morgan Mathis, EastIdahoNews.com BLACKFOOT — Fifty local kids got the ride of lifetime on Saturday morning. Each December, the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, Blackfoot Police Department and other regional agencies hold a “Santa’s Helper” event. The holiday shop-a-thon aims to help low income families in the region put presents under the tree. “(The children) are selected through the schools. We contact the schools directly and then they select the kids that need the most assistance,” Bingham County dispatcher Jessica Lusk said. The sheriff’s office shops with 50 kids, who get to choose presents for their families. Law enforcement and emergency responders also buy gifts for an additional 50 kids and surprised them at their doorstep. Morgan Mathis, EastIdahoNews.com “It brings me to tears sometimes,” Chief Deputy Jordyn Nebeker said. “You’ll have a kid that is here to shop for their family and when it comes to their turn, they will try to give up their turn to get more for mom and dad or brothers and sisters. You’re being taught by a 7-year-old what it means to truly give, cause they have nothing.” Saturday’s adventure with the deputies and officers started with breakfast at the Elks Lodge in Blackfoot. From there, the children got to ride in police and SWAT cars across town to Walmart. They then shop with a cop for their family’s Christmas lists. Afterward, the children and law enforcement return to the Elks Lodge to wrap the presents. When the presents are wrapped and ready for the tree, the kids get to see Santa to receive their own Christmas present. Morgan Mathis, EastIdahoNews.com “One of the biggest reasons that we do this program is so the children have a chance to have a positive interaction with police officers,” 911 Supervisor Erin Hidalgo said. “A lot of kids are afraid of police because when they see us it is because something bad has happened in their lives. They associate us with those hard feelings, and we need them to know we are here for them — and if they need something, all they need to do is find us.” A 10-year-old boy who attended, expressed he was afraid of police because officers in another state killed his uncle. He was tense sitting alongside them. But by the end of the event, he was cracking jokes with them. “They’re actually fun!” he told EastIdahoNews.com “It’s a great relationship being able to realize that we are people too,” Deputy Jon Croxford said. “We have families as well. We aren’t just these robot officers that people see in town. (Also when) other people see us doing this out in the community they can see we’re just regular dudes.” When asked what she would do if she ever recognized some of the officers in the community, one of the 7-year-old shoppers said she would “go give them a hug.” It costs between $5,000 and $10,000 to serve 100 families each year. The department raises the money through fundraisers, raffles and churches in the community. The majority is funded through community donations. If you would like to donate, you can do so by calling the sheriff ’s office at (208) 785-4440. Morgan Mathis, EastIdahoNews.com The post Bingham County law enforcement help fill Christmas lists for local families appeared first on East Idaho News .

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