Lathrop Police Services will get more than one chance this week to make Christmas special for children in the community.
While Wednesday’s multiagency event at Target was only open to specific youth that were selected based on determined need, the drive-thru toy event on Friday, Dec. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lathrop Generations Center will be open to anybody in the community that wants to come down and participate.
According to Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann, it’s one of the events that deputies look forward to all year.
“It’s nice because you aren’t dealing with the public in an enforcement capacity – you’re getting to talk to them as people,” Biedermann said. “It takes that enforcement capacity out of it and you’re talking citizen-to-citizen about the community and getting to talk to the kids in an environment that is much different than when you respond to a call.
“And it gives the deputies a break, too. We’re always in this hypervigilant state running from call to call, but this is a little bit more relaxed and we get to be ourselves and show more of our personality instead of what we’re trained to be.”
The event – which receives its toys from the Marines Corps Toys for Tots program, community donations, and anything left over from the multiagency event on Wednesday – is also typically a chance for Biedermann and his deputies to interact with the public and talk with parents in a different capacity.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has made that almost impossible this year, the event will still be open to anybody in Lathrop that wants to come down and receive a toy for their children for Christmas.
And there’s a lot more than just small wrapped boxes to give away this year.
For the second year in a row the St. Francis Yacht Club of San Francisco – which operates Tinsley Island in the San Joaquin Delta – will be donating dozens of bicycles that have been fixed up and repaired for kids in the community by members of the organization.
“It’s not the typical association that you expect to hear sponsoring events like this in the community, but they use that location for races and events and wanted to do something to benefit the community that they operate in,” Biedermann said. “They contacted us last year and were great and it’s great to have their backing again as we do things like this in the community.
“This is something that is open to everybody and while it’s drive-thru only this year because of the pandemic, it’s still something that we hope will bring the community out.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.