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Jose Quintero, Desert Dispatch
Toys were distributed to children in a Barstow neighborhood on Tuesday as part of the 19th annual Christmas Cops and Kids Program. More than $30,000 worth of toys were given away to children 17 and under throughout the greater Barstow area.

Christmas Cops and Kids Program delivers more than $30k worth of toys

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • Barstow children crowded the city’s streets on Christmas Eve as the sound of sirens brought Christmas joy and toys.

The 19th annual Christmas Cops and Kids Program collected more than $30,000 worth of donations to purchase toys that were delivered Tuesday.

The Barstow Police Department’s Police Activities League spearheaded the program with the Barstow Fire Protection District, California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County Department of Probation and a large group of individual volunteers. Seven different teams met at Valley Lumber and Hardware at 7 a.m. to begin loading up delivery trucks to be distributed throughout the greater Barstow area.

Among the many gifts received by children in the city, none was more fitting than 3-year-old Shay Houston’s princess shoes and tiara.

“This is perfect, because she’s a princess every day,” Denise Houston said of her daughter. “I think what the police department is doing for Christmas is great. This is my first year living in Barstow and I’ve never seen something like this.”

For Jeff Eason Jr., the program’s outcome was very rewarding, not just for him but the entire police department.

Eason and chief Albert Ramirez were instrumental in carrying on a tradition started by Sgt. Tim Heiden. Eason said Heiden had back surgery, and he helped take over the program.

“This program is such a great thing for the community because it’s for the kids,” Ramirez said. “For everybody that helps out, it brings a smile to all our faces. Seeing these kids so happy to get a toy makes this event such a success. Sgt. Heiden made this a huge event. As a matter of fact, there was nothing like this in the whole county, and now slowly but surely, a lot of departments have started doing programs like this.”

Eason said there was a lot of work that went in to organizing the event, including standing in “freezing cold” conditions on Dec. 7 in front of WalMart, collecting toys and donations. Eason said there are some things that are worth freezing for, and the Cops and Kids Program is one of them.

While the toys were the main attraction, the children were also given a coupon for a free burrito at Del Taco, Eason said.


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