Manchester Police Department’s Angel Tree Program Creates Ripples of Joy for the Community.

by | Nov 2023

DURING THE holiday season, twinkling lights adorn the streets of Manchester, and the enchanting scent of Christmas cheer fills the air. Children in scarves and mittens build snowmen and snow angels. Their excitement is evident as the day before Christmas approaches. 

On the night before the big day, wide-eyed kids anticipate the joy of unwrapping presents while parents excitedly prepare warm batches of cookies and hot cocoa to share. While families huddle together by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate and indulging in cookies, not everyone is fortunate enough to experience the full extent of these heartwarming moments. 

In this small town, the true spirit of Christmas shines through in initiatives like the Manchester Police Department’s (MPD) Angel Tree Program. 

This program has been a pillar of support and kindness for over two decades during the holiday season. What began as a modest initiative has blossomed into a community-wide effort that brings together people from all walks of life. The Angel Tree Program was born with a simple goal: to ensure that every child in need experiences the magic of Christmas. 

Over the years, the Angel Tree Program’s reach has expanded immensely, transforming into a collaborative effort between the police department and the Manchester City Schools System family resource counselor, BJ Silva. This partnership ensures that the aid reaches those who need it most. 

Assistant Chief of Police Adam Floied with the MPD explained, “We wanted to target the families and the children that were the neediest, and the family resource counselor knows better than anybody in a school system who those families and children are.” 

The heart of the program’s initiatives lies in the meticulous care officers and community members put into selecting gifts. Each angel is carefully matched with a donor, tailoring the gifts to the child’s size, interests, and needs. Volunteers prepare the gift baskets full of clothing, shoes, personal hygiene items, and toys with love. 

Floied said, “We want every toy we have in a family’s hands. It’s really special for the police department to be able to partner with so many different parts of our community.” 

The entire police department, from officers to administrative staff, rallies around the Angel Tree Program. Each shift takes responsibility for some of the angels, making the holiday preparation a collective effort. This program bridges gaps and creates a positive, personal interaction between law enforcement and the community they serve. 

Beyond individual contributions, the program thrives on the support of local businesses, organizations, and events. Businesses like the Bonnaroo Works Foundation, Sportsman’s Businessman Organization, David Bradley’s fundraiser events, and local restaurants like Prater’s BBQ, Sonic, and many more play a vital role in making the program successful. 

The program’s pinnacle arrives the day before Christmas break, when nearly 100 children gather to receive their gift baskets, personally presented by police officers and their families. The spirit of giving is apparent through these heartwarming interactions and Santa Claus’s personal gift basket deliveries. 

Floied remarked, “We hope that it continues and that we can keep doing this for many years to come.” 

The Angel Tree Program extends beyond this event, with volunteers placing excess toys beneath Christmas trees on the town square for anyone to take, ensuring that every gift finds a deserving home. 

The program reflects the best of Manchester — a caring community coming together to make the holidays brighter for those in need. 

Floied said, “It’s hard to organize things like that and get so many different entities involved. We’re just honored to be able to do it, and it shows the children and families we get to help a side of law enforcement and police officers that they don’t necessarily get to see a lot of times.” 

The program illuminates the potential for positive change in a world often clouded by challenges and negativity. With each passing year, it reaffirms the power of coming together to uplift the lives of those less fortunate, making the holiday season truly magical for all. GN 

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