The Smithville City Police Department put gifts in the hands of 74 children Thursday.
Students at Smithville Head Start Center were chosen to receive the Christmas surprises as part of the department’s annual Cops for Kids Program. Police Chief Mark Collins and other department members joined Mayor Jimmy Poss, and other guests to sing, tell stories and present the gifts.
Collins said that the program is a good way to open a dialogue with the kids. "Each year the Smithville Police Department tries to do something around this special holiday. This year we chose the Head Start. What we do is collect donations and presents from throughout the city and give them to the kids. They get to interact with us. It’s really enjoyable for all of us to interact with the kids," Collins shared.
He said the gifts were purchased through a combination of fund raisers and help from local businesses.
"Local merchants collect gifts for us and we have fundraisers," the chief said. "All the officers at the police department also participated in "No Shave November," paying $40 to enter. That money went toward buying presents and things for this event. This is a good event for us. It’s a way we can give back to the community, and these kids really appreciate it and seem to enjoy it."