Gift Caravan Delivers Smiles

Citrus Heights  |  By Elise Spleiss
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Police Holiday Caravan Brings Joy to Local Families

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The streets of Citrus Heights once again lit up with the sights and sounds of a strategically executed caravan of 27 police vehicles as they wound through three neighborhoods to deliver toys, stuffed animals, bikes, beds, blankets, food, and other gifts to two waiting families and the children of Sayonara Drive.

Nearly fifty Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) police officers, staff and volunteers, along with Mayor Jeannie Bruins, city council members, Santa Claus and others, arrived at a home on Sperry Drive and an apartment complex at Antelope and Auburn with lights flashing and sirens blaring.  At both locations children and their families suddenly appeared from nowhere and the fun began.

Both families consisted of a single mother and her children. One mom along with her daughter and son, had survived and recovered from a flood which turned into a fire in their first recently purchased home. According to CHPD Support Services Manager Sandy Maraviov, “Mom has been incredibly resilient for her children and is using this situation to help her family grow stronger as they move on.”  

The second single mother to three children has been working long hours at a difficult job to move her family into their own apartment. Seeing her family happy and well cared for has made it all worthwhile.

Families chosen to receive the special holiday delivery were selected from community referrals to the city’s Holiday Referral Program overseen by the police department. Items are donated by members of the police department, non-profit service and faith organizations, schools, private businesses and individuals.

Mayor Bruins said how wonderful it always is for her to be part of this caravan. “You never know who you are going to meet” she said, telling of a man she met who had just lost his wife. He was holding a tiny, shivering dog in his arms. Bruins gave him one of 100 quilts made and donated by the Citrus Heights Quilters Guild. She noted, while the holiday program brings joy to its recipients, it “blesses us back.” 

Also adding a personal touch were homemade Christmas stockings, filled and donated by the Soroptimist. In addition, adult patients in the Multiple Sclerosis Day Wellness program under the umbrella of Dignity Health crocheted full sized blankets to help bless recipients. The Rotary Club of Citrus Heights provided food boxes for families.

The event was held on December 20, 2018