In this time of sudden need, many people in Canby have been feeling the need to give.
Chief Bret Smith, of the Canby Police Department, has been hearing from some of them.
“We’ve had a lot of people call, asking how they can help,” the chief explained. “They’re looking to make a donation, donate (personal protective equipment), stuff like that.”
He added with a laugh, “Or they bring us food. People want to make sure we’re not going hungry.”
With PPE or other donations, Chief Smith usually refers them to Canby Fire, or to The Canby Center, where they’re more needed. The police department is not donning PPE for routine patrol, unlike local fire personnel, who are now being directed to wear protective equipment for every medical call.
But the calls keep coming, as do the offers for help, and the donations. This week, Canby police received a donation so generous, they knew they couldn’t keep it all to themselves.
A new, grassroots initiative is underway in Canby, being dubbed “Gift Cards for Giving,” whereby kind-hearted souls buy gift cards at local businesses they want to support and then share those gift cards (or ask that they be shared) with someone who needs them.
In this case, an anonymous donor went to the Wild Hare Saloon in Canby and bought enough gift cards to feed a large and very hungry army, which they then gave to the Canby Police Department as a token of how much their service to the community is appreciated.
The donation was overwhelming, to say the least, but Chief Smith said department leadership and the officers wanted to see if they could pass on a portion of the donation — $2,500 in Wild Hare gift cards — on to The Canby Center, where demand at their food sharing programs has nearly tripled.
“We just felt so appreciated, we felt so much gratitude for the donation, we wanted to pass that feeling of giving on to others in the community,” Chief Smith said.
Officers connected with Canby Center director Ray Keen, who said the donated funds could certainly be put to good use, and Lt. Jorge Tro dropped them off on Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re very grateful to the Wild Hare, the Canby Police Department and the donor for their generosity,” Keen said. “We’ve seen increased need, local families who have been impacted by layoffs and economic distress. This donation will really make a great impact.”
Canby has a reputation for generosity and sharing, but it makes more sense now than ever, according to Chief Smith.
“We’re a community,” he said. “It’s not just the Canby Police Department on our own out here. We’re all in this thing together.”
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