PANS in the community POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 29 More than 30 Kings County families are looking forward to a happier Christmas after holiday bundles were dropped off to them. The bundles included clothes, food and toys collected over the previous three weekends by sheriff officers from the Kentville justice centre and members of the Kentville Police Service. The two forces joined up to hold a collection for three hours on Sunday afternoons, setting up their vehicles at one retail outlet in Kentville or NewMinas each day. Deputy sheriffWill Poirier said that at the outset he was hoping for enough donations for 15 needy families but they ended up with enough for 32, including 59 children. It was the first year for the drive, which Poirier said he organized because there are so many families who need help. Once he had the OK from his supervisor to use a sheriff ’s vehicle at the collections, he contacted Kentville police to see if they wanted to help. “There’s no reason why, in our position, we shouldn’t be able to help people,” he said. “That’s what we do. We help people, Kentville police help people. It was nice to see young children coming up to us when we were collecting on Sundays and not be afraid of us. That’s a big thing.” He said there are families struggling across the province. “People have a bit of bad luck going on in their life, and Christmas is a stressful time of year for a lot of people,” he said. “I just felt that we were in a position where we could actually give back to the community. There are a lot of people out there who have a little bad luck, and they just need a bit of help.” He said he was overwhelmed with the response on the first day. “People were coming up and just opening their hearts and spending their hard-earned money and giving it to people they don’t know.” On the second weekend, he said, it was so busy there weren’t enough people to take all the food. “There were lines of people waiting to give us bags of food,”he said. “The people of the Valley really came forward. That’s really heartwarming, to see a community pull together, knowing that there are people out there who need help.” Local businesses also pitched in, Poirier said, and were donating food and toys by the cartload. Const. Angie McWaid with the Kentville Police Service said she has always done something on her own to help support families in need over the holidays, but has wanted to do something on a bigger scale. “When Will approached me, I thought that was a great idea,” she said. “I didn’t think it was going to be this successful.” The response from the public was “phenomenal,” she said. “We live in this amazing community of people who want to help in some way. It’s wonderful.” She said the reaction of people when the bundles were delivered is what Christmas is all about. “It’s exactly what it’s about. When we drop them off you can see they’re overwhelmed, they kind of don’t knowwhat to say, but you know they’re appreciative. That’s what it’s all about, that feeling of helping 59 kids have a better Christmas.” The families that were helped were identified as being in need through the Kings County Family Resource Centre. Executive director Melissa Connell said the centre is usually only able to help 5-10 families every Christmas. “This is amazing. They’ve helped so many more families than we would have been able to otherwise,” she said. She said the families that are helped are grateful. “It does help me to sleep at night knowing that the children will wake up on Christmas morning and have something to play with,” she said. “Then they’re like other kids when they go back to school and (are) able to say ‘I got a gift for Christmas,’ instead of saying nothing when everyone else has their new toys and clothes.” Originally published on Dec 22, 2017, by Ian Fairclough, The Chronicle Herald Kentville police, sheriffs team up to help 32 families