WCSO prepares for Christmas in July

Making sure kids have new supplies and hygiene items for the upcoming school year.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 2:56 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -It’s summer vacation which means kids probably aren’t thinking about the start of school, let alone Christmas. But the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is. It’s on a mission to make sure all kids in the county will start the next school year off on the right note.

The agency is once again hosting it’s Christmas in July event. This is a chance for families and kids in the community to meet with law enforcement and get a backpack full of school supplies.

“It’s helping our kids,” Sheriff Darin Balaam said. “It’s going in and making an impact to set them up for success.”

Inside the backpacks are new pencils, pens, paper, and all the supplies needed to make sure kids in need don’t feel left out.

“We want every kid to go on to school, [feeling] good about themselves, and about the school year,” Brooke Howard, the community engagement division manager for the WCSO said. “They don’t have to worry about not having a backpack or supplies or the basic items.”

Last year’s backpacks were gone well before the event was over. So this year, they are going bigger.

“We did 600 plus last year, and we needed more,” Balaam said. “We had kids and families coming in after the hour and a half. We’re like all right this year, let’s bump it up.”

So now, 900 backpacks will be handed out. And along with the backpacks, kids will be able to play carnival games, enjoy food trucks and families can be connected with non-profits and other services in the area. Balaam says this is a chance for deputies to connect with families and let them know the WCSO is there to help; giving them a positive experience where some may only have negative connotations.

“When you hear those stories of ‘I remember when I was one of those kids and the deputy or whoever went shopping with me, they made a difference. They showed me the other side,’ that’s what this career is about,” Balaam said.

This free event is all made possible through community donations. And that support now means some kids will look to law enforcement as a resource, not an adversary.

“So that’s why we keep doing this,” Howard said. “Because we know it makes the difference.”

Christmas in July is scheduled for July 30, 2022 from 11:00AM - 2:00PM at the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows located at 2680 E 9th St, Reno, NV 89512.

Donations of school supplies and hygiene items are still being accepted. You can take those to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office on Parr Boulevard. Any extra backpacks will be passed out throughout the year.

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