Anyone who has been lucky enough to work closely with the individuals who make up the Antioch Police Department understand what an incredibly hard-working, committed and overlooked group of law enforcement professionals they are. Law enforcement is a hard field of work in general. Working in a city that continues to struggle with many of the obstacles common to fast growing cities adds to the level of difficulty that comes with the profession. But, if you were to walk into the Antioch Police Department on the day they celebrate their annual Holiday Program, that includes a Holiday Food Drive and Gift Drive would never think twice that the job were anything than a cake walk. And on days such as this one, it truly is a day of joyful celebration.
The Antioch Police Department works diligently to host two major Holiday Programs. The first is referred to as the Holiday Food Drive. The Holiday Food Drive provides the fixings for a holiday meal, between 90 and 110 families annually (Applications are available online during the holidays). This means that as families apply, and are accepted for the Holiday Food Program, they are able to receive the ingredients for a full holiday meal. This includes holiday fixings such as veggies, drinks and dessert options. This year, the Antioch PD was proud to be able to provide a turkey to each family as well. Parked outside the main doors to the Police Department was a mobile food truck where families were invited to select a large variety of fresh fruits, breads and vegetables to accompany the variety of treats they picked up inside.
Now, truly, this program is much more than just a Holiday Food Program. Families are invited to apply to be a part of this major giving program. Families that are accepted are able to receive a wrapped gift for each of their children on the day they pick up their holiday meals. Plus, warm jackets, gloves, hats and scarfs are provided for each child that attends the event thanks to a partnership with White Pony Express. This makes the holiday giving program a step above just a Holiday Food Program. Families are provided with much more than goodies for a meal, they are provided essentials for the winter.
Adopt a Family Program
Another holiday Program is the Police Department’s Adopt a Family program. This works a bit differently than the Holiday Food Program. Each of the departments that are homed within the Antioch PD adopt a family they know to be in dire need. Families that are adopted are typically families that the police officers have formed a relationship with over the year and are truly in need for more than just the fixings for a meal. Families that are part of the Adopt A Family program meet with their sponsoring Officers, who learn what the family truly needs. These needs a commonly beds, clothes and other daily essentials. The Adopt a Family Program really answers to people who may be overlooked, but still are in need of a special hand during the holidays.
The Bright Side of Antioch
The only reason these Holiday Programs work are because of the committed community members in Antioch. Stronger leadership from within the Police Department means that there is clear organization and outreach throughout the community, throughout the year. It also means that people who live in Antioch are willing to jump in and help. These are truly the faces that create the bright side of Antioch that are often overlooked.
Donations to make the Holiday Food Program and Giving Program work come from engaged community members, APD staff, and local business owners and non-profits. Food collection programs, toy-drop off sites and monetary donations are all necessary to make this program work. On the day of the event, helping hands are vital. From wrapping presents to helping family members navigate the Holiday Program set up, people come together to help. As we helped pass out food options, we were able to meet with city officials, local athletes, as well as the family members of police officers, staff and dispatchers. It truly is a community coming together to support neighbors who are less fortunate or struggling during the holiday season.
A Commitment of Community Appreciation
If you ask an Antioch Police Officer why this program is so important, he or she will surely explain that the program is just another way the police department serves the community. It is also explained as a way to show the community appreciation. We all know that the work of a police officer is difficult. Without the community, the work only becomes more challenging. These programs are a way Antioch PD can say, “Thank You” to the community they serve and continually strive to protect. It is work quite distinct than code enforcement, but it is just as, if not more, important. Antioch PD is committed to their Holiday Giving Programs and invites people to get involved. They also remind community members to apply to participate in the Holiday Programs next year.
How to Become Involved
There are many ways to get involved in the Holiday Giving Program with the Antioch Police Department. In fact, there are ways to get involved throughout the year. To learn more about how the Antioch PD remains committed to the people and the community they serve and learn how you can help as well, follow them on facebook for volunteer opportunities. For us, we were happy to help at this Holiday Giving Program and loved being able to meet with the faces of people who live on our local backroads.
If you’re interested in volunteering at APD’s next event, here is information on their monthly community cleanup.