TRURO – All children should get to experience a merry Christmas, and local police officers are hoping to give them just that.
Truro Police Service constables Scott Milbury and Edwin Reynolds are working on putting together Holiday Heroes, with the help of colleagues and numerous organizations and businesses from the community. The hope is to give children a memorable Christmas, who may not otherwise have one.
“I had the idea last year – Halifax Regional Police has a similar program – but I wasn’t sure how to get it off the ground or identify the kids,” said Milbury.
It was around the same time when Leeann MacDonald with the Department of Community Services was involved with a tour of the police station for children, and Milbury approached her about putting something together.
“I was happy when Scott said he had this idea,” she said. “I thought it was something we could do together, but on a smaller scale (than Halifax’s). Edwin became involved – he’s like a big kid – and when we started explaining what we wanted to do to those in the community, it turned into a day-long event.”
From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 22, between 40 and 50 kids will celebrate Christmas Day with as many events and activities as possible in and around Cobequid Educational Centre – breakfast, tree decorating, crafts, nail painting, K-9 demonstration with Milbury and Onyx, lunch, Touch-a-Truck in the stadium parking lot, a possible petting zoo, Christmas movie, supper, a visit with Santa, and possibly a bus tour of Christmas lights in the area. Skating is also in the works.
“They’re all the typical holiday activities one might do with their family, we’re just doing as much as possible in one day,” said MacDonald. “It just keeps growing.”
Participants will be mostly local deserving school-aged children identified through a number of community organizations.
Every time one of the organizers mentions the event to the community, people have been willing to step up to the plate to offer whatever assistance they can, including financially. Many are offering up additional ideas of activities, most of which will be included in the day.
“The reality is, it can be a problem finding age-related activities for all the children – youngest to oldest – to try and capture their interests,” said Milbury.
“So we want to capture the experience,” added MacDonald. “So it’s not just a toy going home with the child. There’s a lot we’re trying to tap into.”