Your local Co-op is where you’ll want to be this Saturday as Stuff the Cruiser events in Tofino and Ucluelet will fill their towns’ with the holiday season’s gift of giving.
The philanthropic festivities are being hosted by the Tofino and Ucluelet RCMP detachments and will see locals and visitors filling police cruisers with much-needed food items and monetary donations from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 10.
“It’s a great time to help people who don’t have the extra little things that make the holiday special,” said Const. Jarrett Duncan of the Ucluelet RCMP.
“Most people in town have young families and we all know how hard it is to provide for a family so this is a great way to help those families in the community give their kids a good Christmas and a good holiday.”
Duncan is excited to attend his third annual Stuff the Cruiser event in Ucluelet and said hot chocolate and baked goods will be on hand to keep the good tidings rolling.
“It’s such a positive thing and it brings the community and police together,” he said.
“It’s the West Coast. We’re all in this together…At the end of the day, we’re all people and just because we wear a different uniform doesn’t mean we’re any different than anyone else. We’re all in the same town doing the same things and trying to help people who need it.”
Duncan was stationed in Chilliwack when two of his colleagues hatched the Stuff the Cruiser idea in 2009.
“It was started by two guys who basically wanted to help the local food bank because they heard there wasn’t enough food or donations for the year,” he said.
Duncan carried the idea with him when he was transferred to Boston Bar and brought it to Ucluelet in 2014 where he was delighted to see locals take to it with gusto.
“They have made it very easy. Everyone is so generous here,” he said. “Anytime people put on any type of donation drive, the town always opens up their arms and gives without hesitation. It’s one of the smallest towns with one of the biggest hearts.”
He was stoked to get Tofino onboard with the initiative for the first time this year and said he reached out to Tofino’s Const. Chris Lemon, who he worked with in Chilliwack and was happy to spread the love to the other side of the peninsula.
“He got the ball rolling in Tofino,” Duncan said of Lemon.
Duncan hopes to see the West Coast support their neighbours’ by stuffing their cops’ cruisers at both towns’ events.
“You always want to think about other people in these situations. What if it was your family? What if you were in that position that you couldn’t provide a dinner or lunch for the day,” he asked.
“This is something to help people during these times where expectations are a little bit higher, especially if you have kids and we don’t want to disappoint kids so, this way, we can help people fulfill the wishes of their kids and keep their whole family happy.”