Christmas Spirit Spreads at Bartlesville, Okla., Forum

Monday, December 22 at 02:10 PM
Category: Arvest Community News

At the Dec. 12 Friday Financial Forum in Bartlesville, Okla., attendees and staff had an opportunity to show their Christmas spirit! Each week a representative from the City of Bartlesville comes to speak for a few minutes about different city activities, and on this occasion Police Chief Tom Holland came to give an update on police department activities. In the report he told about an annual “Santa” project for 25-30 children whose names are provided by the Washington County Department of Human Services.

The money for the Christmas project is raised during the year by volunteer efforts of the police department as well as donations. However, this year the department was facing an unforeseen challenge. A business group who had offered to provide the funding for the bikes had to drop out at the last minute, and the officers were in the process of raising funds to provide bicycles for the kids in a very short period of time. “Today is Friday and the kids are coming tomorrow, so we could sure use some help,” Chief Holland said.
Direct fundraising is a very rare occurrence at the forum, but following the chief’s presentation, Jim Bohnsack, MC, suggested everyone pay up on their “cell phone meeting infractions” and donate the money collected as a gift from “Santa” to help purchase the bicycles. As the jar began circulating, a gentleman seated towards the back of the room called out he would partner with another to purchase a bicycle then another called out the same. When the donations were tallied, a total of $1,535.01 had been collected! 
But the giving didn’t stop there! At the close of the forum, people continued to stop and visit with Chief Holland about the project and donated money. One gentleman from the forum later drove to the police station to deliver a donation which brought the grand total donated from the Friday Financial Forum group to $1,985.01, more than enough to purchase the remaining bikes!  
The yearly event includes breakfast, a visit and pictures with Santa, a bag of goodies and a police caravan taking the kids Christmas shopping! Arriving at the store, each child is accompanied by an officer and given a $75 limit to spend any way the child wishes. A gift wrapping table is set up to help wrap gifts the children purchased for others, which is how most of the children spend their money.  
Along with shopping, each child is taken to the bicycle display and asked, “If Santa brought you a bike this year, which one would you choose?” The selections are noted with each child’s name and then after the children go home, the bicycles are purchased and delivered to each child. 
Yes, the spirit of Christmas definitely showed up in a big way to help those who need it most. Thanks to a group of officers who wanted to do something for others, a police chief who shared the story and everyone at the forum who participated in a little Christmas miracle.
Tags: Bartlesville, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Oklahoma
Richard Moberly on 12/30/2014 at 2:09 PM
Our own Jerry Thompson of the Telecom department is pictured. Jerry is a volunteer officer with the Bartlesville Police Reserve unit who give their time serving the citizens of Bartlesville. Jerry and his fellow Reserve officers are fully certified officers by the State of Oklahoma. The shop with a cop program is just one of the ways the Reserve unit serves this community.

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