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York Regional Police spread holiday cheer with Holiday Heroes campaign

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York Regional police are teaming up with the victim services of York Region to give back to victims and their families over the holidays.

This week marked the second week of the police service's Holiday Heroes campaign, which sees police collect big box items and deliver them to families in need.

"It's overwhelming for families because they think we're going to hand them a couple gift bags," said Deb Phillips, volunteer manager for Victim Services of York Region. "We had a lady the other day say she was in tears. She said she had no idea her car would be packed. Everybody is so generous."

In addition to the campaign's sponsor of the Salvation Army, it incorporates victim services to specifically give victims of crime a needed boost through the region.

"These are people who've obviously been through so much already," said Carey Rutledge, Special events coordinator for York Regional Police Service. "So they get a one-time sponsorship to give them a hand up, to give them a better opportunity and to get them off their feet."

York Regional Police Deputy Chief Alvaro Almeida said the idea behind giving back to victims, in particular, is about building community relationships.

"Because our officers are not in uniform, that really is just to not add any more trauma to the families," he said. "In terms of us, it's important we make those good knocks [on doors] and see their expressions on their faces."

Campaign organizers said they're still looking to have more families sponsored before the holiday campaign wraps up.

The Holiday Heroes campaign helps roughly 3,000 families in York Region annually.

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