Nineteen families, translating to 87 people, walked into the Fullerton Police Station early Friday. Dec. 23.
Each family, made up mostly of children, left with full bellies, a Christmas turkey, canned goods, and a box full of gifts specifically shopped for and purchased for each individual family.
They were guests of the Fullerton Police Department for its Adopt A Family holiday breakfast.
Selected by the Fullerton School District based on need as well as identified by various officers throughout the year, the invited guests enjoyed a breakfast consisting of pancakes, sausages, fruit, hot chocolate and coffee, all prepared and served by FPD officers, cadets and community service personnel.
Each family was asked to provide a list of items they both needed and wanted, and in turn, each FPD Unit shopped for, and wrapped, gifts based on the what the families identified as important to them.
Everything was paid for with donations from officers and support staff in various FPD units, including Dispatch, Day Watch Patrol, Night Watch Patrol, Investigative Units, Command Staff and Administrative Personnel, the Community Services Bureau, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP’s), and the Traffic Bureau, Sgt. Jon Radus said.
“This is an opportunity for us to show the community that we care about them beyond just keeping them safe,” Radus said. “Every child should be able to experience the joy of the holiday season, and if we can help even just few experience that joy that maybe wouldn’t have been able to this year, we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen for them. Some of these children have only had interactions with the police during times of distress, and we want to make sure they know that they can always come to us for help.”
A Cal State Fullerton fraternity also adopted a family, the Sergeant said.
Javier Esquedo, his wife, Nashay, and their three children, who are 9 and 3 years old and 16 months old, were among the invited guests.
“It takes men (and women) of valor to do what they do,” Esquedo said about the FPD. “God is with them. God has blessed us so much and this is just another way of him providing.”
Guest Maria Rafay was joined by her husband Ward and sons Rudy and Brian, who are 10 and 7 respectively.
“I was telling (my sons) how lucky we are that the police department is cooking breakfast for us,” Rafay said.
Santa and Mrs. Claus also turned out for the event, listening to requests and posing for photos.
After face time with Santa, the families received their turkeys, canned goods and gifts and then were sent on their way to have a Merry Christmas.
“This is great,” Ward Rafay said. “You don’t hear about this kind of thing on the news.”