LIVERMORE, CA — Livermore police have erected their iconic "giving tree" in the department's lobby every holiday season since 2002 — and while the coronavirus pandemic changed the look of this year's donation event, the spirit of giving remained.
Instead of physically placing wrapped gifts under the department's Christmas tree, designated collection days allowed donors to drop off unwrapped gifts in a drive thru while remaining in their vehicle and wearing a mask. Livermore police also set up an online system to allow community members to ask for gifts ranging from household supplies to toys for their children.
Despite the changes, the event benefitted 29 senior residents and 30 families of Livermore. Families received gifts such as bedding, kitchen appliances and bath towels. Each child received a package of one to four gifts including clothing, socks, shoes and a toy.
Our Giving Tree is a wrap! A little insight... participants asked for items ranging from They had tears in their eyes of gratitude and joy when receiving their gifts! Thank you to those who ran this program and who donated!
— Livermore PD (@LivermorePolice) December 15, 2020
"[LPD and its volunteers] worked tirelessly to make this event come to fruition through all the restrictions this year," Taylor Burruss, the department's crime prevention officer, told Patch. "I think anyone who participated wishes they could bottle up the heartfelt feeling and emotion that was evoked by the recipients of this year’s LPD/CPAAA Giving Tree Event. "
The department's Horizons Family Counselling, the Crime Prevention Unit and Citizens Academy Alumni Association all collaborated on the effort. The event opened online Nov. 6 and closed Dec. 5.
The effort received a slew of donations from various nonprofits and businesses, but Burruss said it simply wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of the event's program managers.
"There were many tears and profuse 'thank-you’s' expressed during the pick-up event this past Saturday and the community should feel very proud of having made such a memorable holiday for some of our community members in need," Burruss said.