By Chance Chamberlain
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office plans to move forward with its annual Tan Santa program, however, it will look much different this year because of changes that must be made due to COVID-19.
Corporal Christine Eddleman said, “In the past we have adopted a few families for our Tan Santa program and we will still do that this year to help with groceries and toys for the holidays.”
Typically, children would accompany members of the sheriff’s office to Walmart to shop for Christmas presents, but this year deputies will receive lists from children and they will shop for them.
“We receive lists of kids who are in need from seven county schools so we do not double dip kids who are being helped by other departments around the county. We do this so we can help as many kids as we can,” Eddleman explained. “Members of the sheriff’s office will receive lists from each of the 40 kids we will aid this year and they will shop for the kids on their own. After they buy the gifts, they will wrap them and then deliver them to the kids’ homes.”
She added, “We did not want to gather so many kids in one place from different districts this year. That is what lead to our decision to alter our program so we could still help kids in need this Christmas season.”
The sheriff’s office does not solicit publicly for donations, but it accepts them year-round according to Eddleman.
“We do not typically solicit donations from the public, but we have many people come in to donate and we are fortunate for that.”
“We do not have any deadlines for donations because we roll over any funds brought in after the holidays for the next year’s event,” Eddleman said.
Members of the sheriff’s office will begin shopping for the kids next week and Eddleman said she loves participating in the program each year.
“It is wonderful what we are able to do for children in the county each year. Tan Santa is one of those things to help us feel like our contributions make children happy during the Christmas season, which will be especially important this year because of the pandemic,” she said.
Donations can be dropped off at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at 2501 W. Mechanic St, Suite 100, in Harrisonville.