Posted 12/01/15 (Tue)
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
The Watford City Police Department will be spreading some holiday cheer for area children this Christmas season. Through their newly-formed Watford City Police Foundation, city law enforcement will be hosting “Blue Santas of Watford City.”
They will be collecting monetary donations, toys, and clothing for children in need this Christmas. Their hope is to provide under-privileged children in our community with a Christmas they deserve.
Last year, Kyle Kienholz was a police officer for the Kenmare Police Department where he started a program called “Cops 4 Kids.” The goal of that program was to raise $5,000 in three weeks to provide Christmas gifts to the less fortunate children in his community.
“We ended up raising $7,500 in three weeks, which was over our original goal of $5,000,” said Kienholz. “We were able to have the parents meet us at Kmart on the day we selected and we told each parent that they had $150 to spend on each of the kids. We were able to provide for 35 children last year.”
But, according to Kienholz, that one-day shopping spree wasn’t all that the parents received.
“What we didn’t tell the parents beforehand was that once they reached their $150 limit, we were then going to give them $50 more in Kenmare bucks,” stated Kienholz. “They could spend that additional money on their kids at local Kenmare businesses. It was very successful!”
Kienholz came to Watford City in May of this year to work as a police officer with the Watford City Police Department. He wanted to take his idea with him.
“I wanted to take that idea and incorporate a new idea here,” stated Kienholz. “I brought it up to the personnel here a couple of weeks ago and everyone seemed in support of it. So, we got all the paperwork squared away. Our goal is $20,000 this year, and I’m hoping to beat that goal here.”
Once the money is collected, Kienholz hopes to pick a day that will work with all of the families to meet and shop for each child at a supporting Walmart. Watford City School Resource Officer Larry Sherk is currently working with the school district in determining families that could benefit from the Blue Santas of Watford City, as well as getting names from McKenzie County Social Services.
“I really wanted to get this Christmas event going because I really saw a positive effect in the Kenmare community,” Kienholz stated. “And what a positive impact it had on the community and the image of the police department. What it did for the community was great!”
Blue Santas of Watford City has a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/8pa4wp9v. So far, $2,235 has been raised of the $10,000 goal. The foundation will be collecting money up until Dec. 7.
Donations can also be mailed or dropped off at First International Bank & Trust in lieu of the Blue Santas of Watford City. And toy/clothing donations can be dropped off at the Boulder Ridge Community Center (909 4th Avenue NW) in Watford City with Will Maguire between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., or people can contact Maguire at 701-609-0929.
The Watford City Police Foundation would like to hold at least two events a year, including the Blue Santas of Watford City program.
“We’d like to have at least two events a year,” states Kienholz. “We’d like to do a fishing event for kids as well, but that is currently in the works.”
For questions, contact the foundation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.