Mission Crime Stoppers hold annual Christmas event
Nearly 400 children received Christmas gifts thanks to the organized efforts of the Mission Crime Stoppers.
Last Thurs. Dec. 17 the Mission Crime Stoppers, in conjunction with the city of Mission, Mission Police Department, held their annual Kops 4 Kids Giveaway. Due to social distancing guidelines enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a drive-thru version of the event was held outside the police department.
“Normally we have a couple of fundraisers throughout the year [to raise money for this event], but because of COVID we weren’t able to do that,” Corporal Robert Rodriguez with the Mission Crime Stoppers said. “We still wanted to give back, and we came up with gift cards. Instead of fundraising, the community came through one more time and made this possible.”
Children were pre-selected by social workers in the Mission Consolidated Independent School District, Sharyland Independent School District and IDEA Public Schools. After the joint efforts from the entities involved, almost 400 children were given $20 gift cards, small toys and H-E-B food vouchers.
Walmart, H-E-B, TLC Pharmacy, Bert Ogden, RODCO Steel Distributors, Wings and Rings, Javier Hinojosa Engineering, Villa Construction, Royal Technologies, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Chick Fil A and 956 Records were among the sponsors who contributed to making the 2020 Kops 4 Kids event possible.
“We understand everybody was having a hard time this year,” Rodriguez said. “But when there’s a need, we have good people in Mission who feel we can still give a little.”
The drive-thru lane was decorated with inflatable decor, trees and lights. Special appearances from Santa Claus, the Grinch, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Dr. Ted. E. Bear and Mission Police Officers made for a cheery event.
Mission Mayor Armando O’caña, City Manager Randy Perez, police Chief Robert Dominguez and Corporal Rodriguez spoke at a podium before kicking off the giveaway. O’caña said that one gift can make all the difference in a child’s year, particularly a year as difficult as this one.
“In the absence of your hard work these kids would never see one toy, and one toy is very impressive when you give it to a kid who comes from a poor family,” O’caña said. “Times change, and one gift can change their life.”
O’caña said events like these open communications further between members of the community and police officers.
“Our people of Mission are receptive to change,” O’caña said. “We love the people, and I want to personally thank anybody who had anything to do with this event.”
Dominguez applauded the community-oriented engagement promoted by the Mission Crime Stoppers, and asked that those who have faced losses and hardship this year remain in everyone’s prayers, naming fallen officers Jorge Cabrera, Jose Luis “Speedy” Espericueta and Javier Ramon (who is still being treated for COVID-19 in San Antonio) in particular.
“These families have struggled,” Dominguez said. “I ask you to pray for them this holiday season, just like these families lined up here. We all hope 2021 will be a better year for all of us.”
Dominguez called Rodriguez and the Mission Crime Stoppers the elves who work hard all year to ensure Christmas goes off without a hitch for the less fortunate.
“The Mission Crime Stoppers have always been at the forefront at making this event a reality for the children of our community,” Dominguez said. “In a lot of respects, we have God’s blessing in being here today. I just hope He keeps blessing us throughout this coming holiday season and the new year.”
Perez said despite the challenges faced in 2020, adjustments have been successfully made.
“More importantly, we’re able to bring joy to the children of these deserving families,” Perez said, thanking the Crime Stoppers. “I want to thank all the sponsors who contributed to this event. We care for each and every family here in our city. Please stay safe throughout the holiday season, and please follow social distancing and CDC [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines.”