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Cherished Holiday Traditions Continue During Pandemic

It can still be the most wonderful time of the year. Even with a face mask and FaceTime.

Each year, holiday donation drives are a high point for members of the Michigan State Police. With a few health and safety alterations, the MSP held its cherished "Stuff a Blue Goose" events at various locations around the state and even added to these annual traditions despite being in the middle of a global pandemic.

Across the state, adjustments were made for "Shop with a Cop" where children typically spend time with an officer, walking store aisles, hand picking gifts for themselves and family members.

In Ionia, troopers delivered gift cards so kids could shop themselves. Montcalm County law enforcement partners took orders, shopped, wrapped and delivered the items. In Gaylord, kids provided lists, Walmart employees wrapped the items and troopers picked them up and delivered them to the families. Motor Carrier Officers from the Paw Paw and Wayland posts did the same. 

Troopers from the Cadillac Post delivered more than 50 care packages of food and winter clothing to the homeless in Traverse City, marking the fourth year they handed out holiday cheer on behalf of an anonymous donor. The MSP's Gaming Section gathered donations and was able to assemble and deliver 22 similar backpacks to homeless persons in the city of Detroit.

And the list continues.

The Wakefield Post is well known for its large part in the area's Harvest Gathering food drive. The post's annual food drive, in partnership with Super One, raised over 20,000 pounds of food this year for food pantries in Ironwood, Bessemer and Watersmeet.

"The donations were down a little bit compared to last year, but we're thrilled we were able to contribute," said F/Lt. Donald Horn, commander of the Wakefield Post. "We delayed our collection hoping COVID-19 would let up and we even discussed canceling altogether, but in the end, we knew we had to do something." 

Lansing Post members, working with police and fire agencies, delivered non-perishable food and household supplies to roughly 400 senior citizens in Eaton, Ingham and Clinton counties.

Troopers from the Tri-City Post partnered with Auburn Elementary School to hand out baskets of goodies.

The Mt. Pleasant Post served as a drop-off location for Toys for Tots.

"These opportunities to partner with our local first responders, businesses and schools are a longstanding tradition," said F/Lt. Josh Lator, commander of the Mt. Pleasant Post. "Not only do these events build relationships, but they meet real needs that exist in our community showing young and old alike how much we truly care about them during these challenging times."

The Lakeview Post "adopted" three families for Christmas and purchased gifts, even for the parents. 

Members of the Niles Post collected food and toys for Helping Hands in Cassopolis.

Troopers from the Rockford Post participated in Project Night Lights outside of DeVos Children's Hospital. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was limited to first responders only, who were encouraged to drive by the hospital and shine their emergency lights for the kids inside to see. Troopers also assisted Grand Rapid's Blue's Gym with a holiday giveaway of food, clothes, coats, hats and toys.

"It took ingenuity to bring holiday joy to families in need this year," said Lt. Derrick Carroll, Seventh District Public Information Officer. "But we rose to the challenge and worked with our partners in the community to make sure we could safely deliver happiness."

View photos from these events