Law enforcement delivers Christmas cheer

Published 10:02 pm Friday, December 20, 2019

For its 27th year, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 made its annual delivery of Christmas food baskets to needy families in Suffolk and Isle of Wight on Friday, with help from volunteers and the North Main Street Walmart.

The lodge partnered with North Main Street Walmart to procure 25 food baskets this year. Each basket included ingredients for a delicious holiday meal: a turkey, a five-pound bag of potatoes, two cans of corn, two cans of green beans, a bag of mixed fruits, two cans of gravy, a box of stuffing mix, a package of rolls, one pie and one gallon of iced tea.

This is the first year that the lodge has partnered with the Walmart store for the food baskets, according to Suffolk Sheriff’s Deputy Sandy Toby, but the two groups already had a strong partnership through the annual Cops and Kids event.

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The 18th annual Cops and Kids was held earlier this December and gave 17 children — who may have received little or nothing for Christmas otherwise — the opportunity to shop for toys with law enforcement officers.

“To be able to partner with them and their Lodge is a great opportunity,” said Shonda Hill, store manager at North Main Street Walmart. “It’s a great way to be able to give back to the community.”

Approximately 12 volunteers — both Suffolk and Isle of Wight sheriff’s offices among them, along with retired Suffolk Sheriff’s Office and Suffolk Police — met at the Walmart Friday afternoon to pack their vehicles and deliver the baskets.

Five baskets went to needy families in Isle of Wight County, while the remaining 20 baskets went to help Suffolk families.

“This is awesome,” Tracey Trevathan said when Suffolk Sheriff’s Deputy Toby and Maj. David Miles delivered a basket on Friday to Trevathan’s Suffolk residence. She was joined at the door by Donald Trevathan, her 5-year-old grandson. “Thank you so much.”

Toby, who will be the next president for the lodge effective Jan. 1, has been participating in these Christmas food deliveries for nine years. She’s gotten to know many of these families well, and has developed a great rapport with several of them.

“I’ve actually developed great relationships (with) several of the repeat families,” she said. “I check on them throughout the year, and make sure that all is well, and see if their kids need anything extra. It’s just great community involvement and caring about what’s going on with them.”

“There’s great relationships that are built from us doing this every year,” said Allan Iversen Jr., director and state trustee for Lodge 41. Reactions from families that receive these baskets range from simple “thank you’s” to teary-eyed hugs, Iversen said. “This has actually touched the lives of a lot of people in the city of Suffolk, and we’re proud to do it for them.”

It’s a Lodge tradition every winter that helps more families enjoy the holiday season.

“Everybody should be happy for Christmas,” Toby said. “We don’t want anybody going without.”