KANSAS CITY, Mo. — During Christmas, we are reminded that good things come in small packages. Especially for kids like Imani Ransburg, whose Christmas came a bit early this year.
“I got a big fluffy pillow which is my favorite,” Ransburg said. ” I feel grateful, because people are very nice and people never give us toys and stuff.”
All this thanks to the help of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department who hosted a toy giveaway and a meet and great with Santa.
“Obviously with the climate of law enforcement and society we are kind of strained right now, and I’m always thinking of ways that we can bring the two together," Char Sanders, a community interaction officer with KCPD said. "Where people, especially kids, are not seeing us in the light they are used to."
By organizing this event Sanders told KSHB 41 News she and her fellow officers are working to offer a beacon of hope.
“Everybody, no matter where they live deserve a safe place to be and kids deserve a safe sidewalk to ride their bikes down," Sanders said. "So when you bring community and police together in a different way, you get those interactions with kids that you might not get when you are on a scene."
KCPD Maj. Scott Simons said this toy drive and other events are important to establish a genuine connection with the people they serve.
“That way when they need help, they’ve seen us in a different light and say 'I’m going to call them, because they were there for me for this, or I was able talk to them at this event.'" Simons said. "And [this] helps build a little bit of that trust and let them know we are people just like they are."
Families who attended the event had faces of joy and happiness lit like a Christmas tree. Now KCPD is hoping to make this holiday season merry and bright.
“The way I think about it, it’s a step in the right direction," Sanders said. "It’s a step towards community, it’s a step in togetherness and that’s what we need right now. Whether it be communities and police or just communities. We need to come together."