About 50 volunteers, mostly teens, rolled up their sleeves and reached for scissors, tape and wrapping paper this week at the Police Annex building.
Their goal on Tuesday was to wrap up the toys waiting to be placed in the hands of more than 300 eager Los Banos youngsters through the Kops for Kids program. Part of the fun of receiving a Christmas gift, as everyone knows, is ripping open the packaging and discovering what’s inside. And Noah Jones, Kops for Kids coordinator, had that covered.
Jones enlisted the help of students from Los Banos High School FFA.
“It’s huge,” Jones said of the teenagers’ contribution. “They’re wrapping them pretty quick. If we were doing it by ourselves, it would take us a long time.”
Jones said Kops for Kids has existed in Los Banos for more than 20 years and, aside from helping the less fortunate, it is a good way for police to have positive interaction with youngsters.
“The unique thing about it is it’s done through the Police Department, and police officers actually deliver the presents,” Jones said.
Delivery day is Thursday for the children whose families signed up for the program.
Max Edinger, 16, spent Tuesday evening alongside schoolmates trying to figure out the best way to wrap trucks, footballs and other oddly shaped items.
“I think it’s good to do things for charity and the kids, it’s a good deal,” he said.
The teens weren’t the only Kops for Kids volunteers, a handful of adults pitched in as well.
Rick Gomes said he started volunteering to help wrap presents years ago when his grandchildren became involved in the Police Activities League, which Jones also oversees.
Gomes spent most of Tuesday walking around and making sure everyone had enough wrapping paper and tape. He said he’s grateful to be able to give back to the community through assisting with the program.
“It’s for the kids,” Gomes said. “ There’s a lot of needy kids out there. Anything for the kids is great.”