Carlisle Police Officer Jamie Dimartile has an office at the station containing stuffed animals, small toys and diapers, but she’s looking for more.
The department is celebrating Christmas in July by asking the public to make early donations to its annual Christmas program that brings Christmas presents to children in the community who need assistance.
Dimartile has been organizing the program, originally developed by Officer Tim Mayer, for three years.
“We love doing this, and we’re sad last year that we were unable to have a party due to COVID,” Dimartile said in an email to The Sentinel. “Thankfully, some families took photos of their kids with their gifts and we were able to virtually see the kids enjoy their Christmas.”
Dimartile created an Amazon Wish list that will allow the gifts to be sent to the station at 240 Lincoln St. Items purchased from local stores may also be donated at the station.
Items on the wish list are based on what had been most often requested in the past two years.
“We have kids from newborn to 17 on our list, so anything is appreciated. We just ask that the gifts are new and still in the original packaging,” she said.
The toys, stuffed animals and diapers at the station are also available to officers to use all year long. Dimartile said that sometimes officers will be called to a situation in which a young parent is struggling and they will give them a box or two of diapers and wipes, or they may give a frightened child at the scene of a car crash a stuffed animal to help comfort them.
Dimartile said the project is close to her heart. Last year, the police department allowed people to come in to pick out gifts for their children. That process allowed them to help about 150 kids, which is double the number of kids that are typically on the list.
“We work endlessly during Christmas to ensure that each kid gets three or four gifts that they request so that, after the tough year they endured, they at least get a little Christmas magic,” she said. “The relief we saw on people’s faces after COVID and them not knowing if they could even purchase a toy for their kids, that is priceless.”
Email Tammie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.