For many North Okaloosa County parents, affording Christmas presents for their children can really stretch an already tight budget. As this unusual year draws to a close, many families are finding it harder than ever to buy gifts to place under the tree on Christmas morning.
Fortunately for those parents, the Crestview Police Department’s Community Services Division is again accepting applications for its annual Cops For Kids toy distribution. Applications are available now and will be accepted until Wednesday, Dec. 9.
The program was started in the late 1990s by Officer Bill Napier and is continued now by Community Services Officers Wanda Hulion and Sam Kimmons.
“Our Cops For Kids program provides new, unwrapped toys for children between the ages of 2 through 16 of families in need,” Officer Hulion explained. “With many people unemployed or working fewer hours due to COVID-19, we’re anticipating more applications than in the past.”
Here’s what Cops For Kids applicants need to know:
• Applicants must be the child(ren)’s legal guardian.
• To help as many families as possible, if applicants received assistance through Cops For Kids in 2019, they are not eligible to apply this year.
• Because the program is donation-based, there is a possibility that not all applicants can be assisted.
• Only North Okaloosa County, Florida, residents may apply.
• Children must be between the ages of 2 and 16.
• Providing false or misleading information in the application will result in permanent disqualification from the program.
• Applications must be turned in at the Police Department by Dec. 9 by the applicant in person. All information is kept strictly confidential. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
• Applications are available at the Police Department in the Whitehurst Municipal Building, 201 Stillwell Blvd., or online at www.CrestviewPD.org.
Families accepted in the Cops For Kids program will have two ways of receiving gifts. Children may opt to Shop With a First Responder on Saturday, Dec. 12, during which the child(ren) will join a Crestview police officer or firefighter to pick out gifts of their choice.
Otherwise, families may pick up sacks of gifts at Warriors Hall in the Whitehurst Municipal Building on Thursday, Dec. 17 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Donations of new, unused, unopened toys and cash gifts are welcome and may be dropped off at the Police Department. Toys may also be dropped off at any Dollar General store in Crestview, Baker, Laurel Hill or Holt. Cash gifts must be given directly to a police officer.
For further information, call Officer Hulion at 305.7282 or Officer Kimmons at 612.1832.