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A Holiday Helping Hand: Prince William Police collect thousands of dollars in gift cards to give foster kids

The police department decided to help local children in a different way this holiday season amid the coronavirus' spread.

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus has had a major impact on the holiday season, but that did not stop one local police department that worked to provide money for members of its community.

The Prince William County Police Department collected gift cards for roughly 120 children and young adults in the local foster care system this 2020 holiday season.

The police department partnered in the project with the Prince William Department of Social Services [DSS].

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Ultimately, the Prince William County Police Department was able to donate a total of $15,685 gift cards to DSS.

“Even though there is a difficult situation at the moment, a lot of businesses came forward and wanted to help when they were actually doing extremely well,” said PWCPD Officer Joanne Cathcart.

The Prince William County Police Department said it usually shops with local children in its Santa Cops and Santa Ride programs this time of year. However, a PWCPD spokesperson said those activities had to be postponed this year due to the coronavirus’ spread.

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PWCPD Officer Truman Paul said many officers felt it was still important to give to the community one way or another.

“We were encouraged to get gift cards to grocery stores, convenience stores, fast food places, places that would be able to give a handout and help people in need and maybe get some food,” he said.

The gift card donation challenge also came with a competitive element this holiday season.

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Individual units and squads within the Prince William County Police Department were encouraged to gather more donations than their peers.

Ultimately, PWCPD’s Co-Responder Unit won first place in the competition by raising $3,985 in gift cards.

“Our unit came in first and it was very good to talk to old units I was on and rally each other,” said PWCPD Officer Adam Gardiner. “But it was all in good fun and we got to do it for a good cause.”

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