‘Heroes’ provide presents

By Porsha Stennis

The DeKalb Police Department and Target hope to help even more children this year than its Heroes and Helpers program usually does.

In 2011, the Benevolent and Protective Association, a group of officers who raise money to sponsor youth groups and events in DeKalb, joined forces with Target to donate gifts to children and families in need during the Christmas season. This year’s Heroes and Helpers gift selection will be held Sunday at Target, 2555 Sycamore Road.

The officers take recommendations and reach out to school districts in the area to select candidates for the giveaway.

“They are [children] either nominated by friends and family, private phone calls or suggested by school districts,” said Chad McNett, DeKalb community relations officer. “We try to reach out to those who are going through rough patches, hard times, and if they accept, we help.”

On the day of the event, each child will have the opportunity to pick out $100 worth of gifts that are wrapped by volunteers and mailed to the children’s homes the week before Christmas. In the past there have been 10 to 12 children served by the program, but the goal is to reach out to more.

Target, which provides volunteers and the gifts, also reaches out to police departments and organizations around the country, helping fund programs that help less fortunate families.

“It’s a national program that Target does, and it just made sense to work with the police department in DeKalb on one of their already existing programs helping families,” said Brian Wedoff, a group leader from the Target Distribution Center.

McNett encourages residents and students to help in any way they can.

One student agreed, suggesting information on the program be spread around campus.

“I haven’t heard about it, but I think there should be places on campus to donate to. The smallest amount of money helps,” said sophomore Laquetta Neal.

McNett is taking a step forward and making it easier for students to help out.

“If groups of students want to donate money I can come on campus and collect the money or they can drop it off at the new police station by the end of this week,” McNett said.