Cops and Kids fills needs for families

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2021

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Michel’le Wells was grateful for the help.

Thanks to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41’s 13th annual Cops and Kids event at Walmart Dec. 17, not only would she be able to put toys under the Christmas tree for her children, Micah Wells, 2, and David Silver, 5, she would also be able to buy other much-needed things for them.

“We’re so grateful to be able to have the extra assistance with Christmas for the kids,” Michel’le Wells said. “It’s really nice. … This is very helpful. It takes the stress off a little bit. We completed our Christmas really, last-minute things we needed, things to put the toys in so that they’re not all over the floor, necessities.”

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The children, in particular, loved anything Baby Yoda-related from the Mandalorian, as both were wearing Baby Yoda attire.

Suffolk Lodge 41 raised enough money this year to help 12 children purchase things for themselves or their families, shopping alongside a member of law enforcement. They will also be delivering food baskets to 10 families to help with their holiday meals, something it has done for 25 years.

Five people from the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office came out, along with Lodge director Allan Iversen and one other officer who are both retired from the Suffolk Police Department. Both organizations also hold toy drives to provide for children during the holidays.

“It’s real good that we’re able to help them out,” Iversen said.

Michel’le Wells and her children were able to shop alongside Deputy Sandy Toby, who was in charge of the program this year.

“The kids enjoyed themselves,” said Iversen. “They loved being able to shop and not worry about what they can get. Of course, we limit what they can get for safety reasons. But most of the kids do enjoy shopping with an officer. We think it’s a good program to get kids to realize that police officers are people too.”

Iversen wishes he and the organization could help more children and families, but said with limited resources through the donations it receives, it does everything it can with its holiday programs and with school supplies in the summer.

He said with the lodge in some growing pains, he’s hopeful 2022 will mean a more prosperous year for the lodge so it can help more people and get involved with more events.

“Some of the kids’ families that we have found, if it wasn’t for this,” Iversen said, “there probably wasn’t going to be anything underneath the tree, if they had one. So we’re very grateful that we were able to find these families that really do need the help. We’re able to do something to help them.”