The Oceanside Police Department hopes that this program helps deepen their relationships with the community
Having received a generous donation, one California Police Department has decided to pay it forward all year long. The effort is a part of the Oceanside Police Department's Random Acts of Kindness Project, where officers focus on different ways to help strangers in their community.
Last month, they distributed envelopes filled with cash at local gas stations in light of the rising oil prices. This time, in April, they are helping out shoppers pay for their grocery bills. "Grocery costs have skyrocketed and Oceanside police officers are heading out to stores to help people overcome food insecurity," read a post shared by the department on social media.
"OPD will surprise shoppers with Random Acts of Kindness by helping with the grocery tab in April," it continued. According to ABC affiliate KGTV, officers visited many stores at different times of the day this week to hand out $100 to shoppers.
"Are you serious?" asked one woman who was approached by kind members of the department. "I never thought of anything like that happening, it's remarkable, takes your breath away." Yet another shopper was left surprised after an officer stopped her to ask how much money she thought she would be spending that day. "More than I want to!" shared the Walmart Neighborhood Market customer who was stunned as she was handed $100 in cash. "Oh my gosh!" she responded.
According to the department, the program was originally launched in December with the aim to "help make spirits brighter in Oceanside" during the holiday season. At that point, they were giving out $100 to unsuspecting drivers. But the effort was amped up as the family who originally made the donation decided to give the department $20,000 so they could keep the kindness going all year round.
"We can think of no better way for us to provide acts of kindness to Oceanside residents than by partnering with Oceanside police officers who are on the front lines and encounter those who need kindness and a helping hand on a regular basis," expressed the founder of Trauma Intervention Programs Inc., Wayne Fortin, in a statement.
As for the department, they hope that this program would help deepen their relationships with the community. "Most of the time when people call the police, it's not under the greatest circumstances," shared Public Information Officer Jennifer Atenza, according to CBS affiliate KFMB-TV. "It's when something bad has happened, there's an emergency, there's trauma involved. So, this affords us the opportunity to make connections under positive circumstances."
Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | Abc 10 News