STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — For 21 years, the Stockton Police Department has hosted its annual toy drive. This year, the department made adjustments to make sure families still had support.
This holiday season has been tough for Lucero Real and her family. In November, her three nephews lost both parents in an apparent murder-suicide.
Just over a month later, Real said they get by with support from each other.
“We are together. We have a support system. We have other sister-in-laws, mother-in-law, they’re all supporting each other. So, that’s helping,” Real explained.
Friday morning, Real and her family got a surprise at their door.
Santa traded his sleigh for a police van, all to deliver Christmas dinner and gift cards to more than 30 families impacted by violent crimes this year.
“They were not expecting it but they were glad to see it, especially the little one. So yeah, it makes this day more joyful,” Real said.
Stockton Chief of Police Eric Jones said they had to change their strategy because of the pandemic.
“It’s not toys that they need this year. It’s basic; it’s just food, gift cards, things to get through everyday life. And for us, it was a big wake-up call,” Jones explained.
But whether it’s toys for the kids or meals and gift cards for the family, Jones said he wants his community to know his department is there to lend a hand.
“We’re still with them,” he said. “It’s been a tough year, especially for them, but we want them to know the Stockton Police Department is with them in spirit, even through a difficult holiday season.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.