Sentinel staff report–
With flashing lights and sirens blaring on Thursday afternoon, a 27-vehicle police convoy traveled through Citrus Heights to hand-deliver Christmas gifts to families in need around the city.
The deliveries were part of an annual police-led community effort called the Holiday Referral Program, which benefited over 40 families this year — three of whom were selected for the special drop-off’s on Dec. 21st. The convoy delivered gifts to families on Sierravale Way, Sunrise Boulevard, and Sunrise Vista Drive, before concluding with a gift drop for kids outside the Sayonara Center around 3 p.m.
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Vice Mayor Jeannie Bruins, who participated in the gift drop along with Councilman Albert Fox, said all of the families visited on Thursday were single-family households, one of whom was a single mom whose husband died two weeks ago.
Now in its ninth year, police said the Holiday Referral Program was created to provide in-need families with food, household items, clothes and toys for children. Gift donations are collected by social clubs, business groups, churches, schools, and community members.
Each year the department accepts referral applications from the community who refer local families they believe have experienced a recent hardship. Police then work to select qualified families who will benefit from the program, with several families selected for a personalized gift drop.