SOLEDAD — Six agencies came together on the evening of Dec. 13 to distribute over 500 presents and approximately 100 new bicycles to local children and their families at the South County YMCA.
The annual “Cops Giving Tree” saw a special guest appearance from Assembly Member Anna Caballero, who presented all six agencies with special recognitions for the event.
Soledad Police Department, Soledad Unified School District, the California State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Correctional Training Facility, Salinas Valley State Prison and the South County YMCA collaborated on meals for the attending families and gifts for disadvantage youth and their families for the eighth annual “Cops Giving Tree.”
No Christmas event is complete without Santa Claus who, with the help of “Elves” and “Mrs. Claus,” distributed the gifts to the children and the bicycles.
According to Soledad Police Chief Eric Sills, all the participants are carefully selected by the staff from local schools who are in a position to truly recognize the needs of these less-fortunate children and their families. Donations from the six agencies as well as local businesses in Soledad and South County generates the funds needed for the “Cops Giving Tree.”
“This year, prison inmates from the Salinas Valley State Prison’s Substance Abuse programs donated $4,858 toward the event,” said Sills. “We are extremely grateful to all donors who have continued to make this occasion special for so many local children and their families.”