Ucluelet’s police will be out in full force this weekend collecting Christmas donations for locals in need.
The RCMP’s second annual Stuff the Cruiser event is set for Saturday, Dec. 12, and locals are encouraged to swing by the Ucluelet Co-op’s parking lot to take part in the fundraising festivities.
Hot chocolate and baked goodies will be dished out as locals stuff Ucluelet’s police cruisers with donations of food, gifts and cash, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
All donations will be handed over to the Food Bank on the Edge’s Christmas Hamper program.
“Come by to support people in the community who maybe need a little bit of help around the holiday season,” said Const. Jarett Duncan of the Ucluelet RCMP.
Duncan was transferred to Ucluelet last year and brought the Stuff the Cruiser event with him from his former detachment in Boston Bar.
“Christmas can be a hard time for some people and I just wanted to give back and help out anyone who has a little bit of a harder time around the holidays,” he said.
“It takes a lot to raise a family and Ucluelet definitely has a lot of small families.”
He said Ucluelet’s community spirit meshes well with the spirit of Stuff the Cruiser.
“The community of Ucluelet is so giving,” he said.
“I’ve never seen such a generous community and I figured bringing this here would be an easy thing to do and I knew that it would be supported by the local people of Ucluelet.”
His hunch proved spot-on and he was stoked to see the success of last year’s inaugural event.
“The cruisers were stuffed completely full,” he said.
“It was a great turnout…there was more than enough generousity to go around for sure and I think the Food Bank really benefitted from it.”
He urges locals to put themselves in the shoes of others when thinking about whether to donate this year.
“If it was Christmastime and you had kids and you needed a little bit of help to get food on the table or put clothes on their back it would be something that you would want,” he said.
“Treat others how you’d want to be treated and try to live in someone else’s shoes and think how it would be…If you can give, I think it’s something people should do.”
Ucluelet’s detachment commander Sgt. Jeff Swann was delighted to see Duncan’s initiative take off last year.
“We turned around and helped the Food Bank folks deliver it to people in need and it’s just a heartwarming little thing that we can do to give back so if we can give our time and effort to do that we will,” Swann said.
He noted the detachment also sponsors local families during the Christmas season.
“We’ve got some wonderful people out in the community, who wish to remain anonymous, and they are dropping off some wonderful gifts for these couple of families that we’ve sponsored this year,” Swann said.
He said local police unfortunately find themselves face-to-face with those in need often.
“As a police officer in a small town, when you go to people’s homes and you see that there may be a child that is in need it strikes at our hearts,” he said.
“All too often we have to go to those homes, that’s our job, that’s our duty, and when we see it, it bugs us.”