BIG LAKE, Minn. (KMSP) - In the spirit of giving, the Big Lake Police Department is handing out cash thanks to an anonymous donor and now it’s becoming somewhat of an annual tradition.
Last year, the same anonymous donor asked the police to distribute $1,000 to families in need.
Things went so well that this year that donation was increased to $1,500.
“It’s the one time we get to say, ‘Here, we are going to make your day,’” said Chief Joel Scharf, of Big Lake Police.
Playing the part of Santa’s elves, Big Lake officers are helping Christmas come early for some very deserving families.
The Shearer family was shocked to learn a friend contacted the police about being one of this season’s recipients of some Christmas cash, which an anonymous donor asked officers to spread out through the community.
“I think it’s amazing,” said Allison Shearer. “Someone out there is willing to give an anonymous donation and be part of something big in the community.”
“The only stipulation was they wanted us to use our discretion about where we use the funds and where we thought they would do the most good,” said Scharf.
The Shearers and their two children have had a lot of contact with police. Their 12-year-old son Evan’s mental health and other disabilities require both parents to stay home, because too often things have gotten physical and calls for help have been frequent.
“He’s been hospitalized over 20 times,” said Shearer. “He’s been to residential treatment for about a year, where he had to live away from home. So, there’s been a lot of struggles. There’s been a lot of struggles to keep him home but it’s worth it.”
So far the department has handed out crisp hundred dollar bills to six deserving families, ranging from sexual assault survivors to a recent domestic violence call resulting in an arrest.
“Ours is the only profession where 90 percent of what we go to is negativity,” said Scharf. “When people are in crisis they call police.”
Scharf added, “This is 100 percent the only time we get to decide we are going to decide how things are going to go. And we are going to give you immediate assistance.”
As Evan pointed out, helping people is pretty cool.
The police department is still fielding requests for people within Big Lake, these donations should go to. They're also keeping the money in mind as they go from call to call each day until that $1,500 runs out.