KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department teamed up with Healing Pathway Victim Service Agency on Sunday to collect toys for the children of homicide victims.
Officers and volunteers completed their goal to "Stuff the Squad Car" in just about two hours at the Target on State Line Road.
"Unbelievable reaction from the citizens of Kansas City," KCPD Officer Richard Marquez said.
The community's generosity filled not only the trunk, but also the backseat of a sport-utility vehicle.
"I'm sure the officer had to ride with toys in his lap," Executive Director of Healing Pathway Victim Service Agency Monica Roberts said.
The presents will go to the more than 150 children who have lost a parent to homicide and are enrolled in Healing Pathway's program. The organization hosts a Christmas celebration each year at a KCPD patrol station.
Partnering with police has become an important aspect of the nonprofit's mission to help kids impacted by violence.
"Oftentimes, when they see law enforcement, it's at a tragic moment," Roberts said.
Events like "Stuff the Squad Car" allow kids to gain a new perspective.
"A lot of times, these children who are seeing us are only seeing us at the scene of a crime or maybe taking a loved one to jail, and this completely puts us in a different light," Marquez said.
It was encouraging event for all involved.
"For every bad story we see out here, there are also a lot of good people that truly want to give back and truly want to support ... so we saw that today," Roberts said.
Healing Pathway's Christmas party will be Dec. 1 at KCPD South Patrol. Find out how to donate toys, money or time on the organization's website.
To learn more about Healing Pathway, tune into 41 Action News at 10 p.m. on Monday. The nonprofit will be featured as part of our SafeKC initiative.