Fairbanks Police Department shines bright with annual Giving Tree

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 4:59 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - They may look small -- but on the lit-up tree at the Fairbanks Police Department, tiny gold cards are giving those in the community big holiday cheer this season.

The Fairbanks Police Department is just about to wrap up its holiday Giving Tree event this Friday, but before they do they wanted to thank the community for its tremendous support.

Deputy Chief Richard Sweet was at the Police Department and shared his thoughts on how the community has come out to help those in need during the holidays.

“It’s not surprising we have done really well the food drive for the food bank, and we had overwhelming support for that,” Sweet said.

He says when it comes to giving back, the people of Fairbanks really go the extra mile to support the rest of the community.

Sweet also explained that the Fairbanks Police Department is a “drop spot” for those who bring the gifts for the giving tree. “We put their names (organizations) upon a card that hangs upon the tree. Then anyone from the public can come in and take one, or many more if they like, and then bring back the presents to us and we will deliver them for Christmas, [on] Christmas Eve I believe,” he said.

This year, Fairbanks Police Department has teamed up with local non-profits The Door, The Pioneer Home, and The Rescue Mission. Sweet says the amount of outreach has been momentous. “It takes your breath away when you think about how much people give. In their own daily life, they take their time out just to go and do this, and provide that for someone they don’t even know.”

Sweet also mentioned that as a police officer, there are many moments on the job that can be hard. “A lot of times we see the bad side, or when people are having their worst day. It is nice for officers from the bad side of it to see something different, another side to the community. It helps,” he said. “You take your uniform off and leave it in a locker, but what you experienced goes home with you.

He added that these events, from an officer’s perspective, help bring home positive interactions with the public when he takes off the badge, “and you know the community is out there supporting each other, and then that is the community you are in.”

Fairbanksans can bring gifts to the Fairbanks Police Department or pick up a card for a local non-profit through Friday, December 17th.

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