Castlegar RCMP officers and employees are opening up about their annual holiday gift basket initiative in hopes of inspiring others in the Kootenay’s to give back to their community, especially around the holiday season.
For years now the police officers, civilian employees, even friends and family of the Castlegar RCMP have come together to help make one local family’s Christmas extra special. The local RCMP detachment has collaborated with partners in the community to identify a small family, in the community they serve and protect, who is deserving of some extra festive cheer around the holidays.
The chosen family is then contacted by a Castlegar RCMP officer who explains their holiday initiative and gathers important details, outlining the family’s greatest needs around the holidays, including what the individual interests are for each of the children in the household.
Nearly two dozen Castlegar Detachment employees contribute to the special cause each year. The current liaison officer then works with his own family to purchase and wrap gifts for the entire family and grocery gift cards to help ensure the sponsored family can purchase the trimmings they need for a holiday supper. Additional sponsors in the community contribute free passes for local entertainment and recreational activities.
Acting Corporal Kyle Plotnikoff has been organizing this community RCMP led initiative going on five years now alongside his wife and their young son. When asked why he organizes this initiative year after year, Plotnikoff says it’s the reaction and surprised look on the children’s faces, when the uniformed police officers arrive at their home with all the wrapped presents to add under their tree, food and in some cases winter clothing essentials. He adds, it is such a warm feeling inside when the kids can’t help but give you a hug, which is often followed by handmade thank-you cards and messages.