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Citrus Heights PD surprises 21 families with gifts, meals

Holiday Referral Program
File photo, officers drop off items to kids at the Sayonara Center during a 2016 Holiday Referral gift drop-off. // CH Sentinel

By Rylie Friesen
The Citrus Heights Police Department’s annual Holiday Referral Program again partnered with a variety of local community groups to provide gifts to in-need families during this year’s holiday season. 

This year, the program’s 11th year, a total of 21 families who had experienced a recent hardship were helped, including 62 children and 35 adults, according to a Dec. 27 news release from the police department. The effort was made possible with the help of over 75 donors, including local businesses, local service clubs, volunteers, city employees and community members, police said.

“We are extremely grateful for the partnerships, friendships and unwavering support of the Citrus Heights Community and sincerely thank everyone who made this year’s Holiday Referral Program a wonderful success,” said Support Services Supervisor Tiffany Campbell.

Police said the families selected were provided with blankets, food, clothing, money, and toys for children. Four families also had gifts delivered by a police convoy — an annual high-profile trek through the city filled with flashing lights, dozens of police officers and their families, and Citrus Heights leaders.

According to the press release, the convoy delivered gifts to a single parent of a four-year-old who escaped domestic violence; a fireman supporting a family of four “whose career was quickly eliminated after being hit by an unlicensed, uninsured, drunk driver while off duty;” a single parent whose newborn baby was mauled by the family dog; and a family of six, provided for by two sisters who grew up and currently volunteer at the Sayonara Center. 

The convoy delivered gifts on Dec. 19, police said in a Facebook post. 

Campbell called the program a “huge success,” made possible with the support and volunteerism of community members.

The annual referral-based program kicks off each November, when the department accepts applications from community members who refer local families that have been through a recent hardship. 

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