The department is delivering the gifts to 12 families with a total of 46 children, as well as an additional three families “adopted” by groups Dayton police partners with.
“Every child get three wishes,” said Cash. “It could be clothes, toys, a combo of both, but people don’t just get one present for each wish...We want to make that difference and we want to make someone’s Christmas brighter.”
Bikes were one of the most popular gifts this year, she said. Scooters, basketballs and clothes were other highly-sought items.
“Most importantly, the FOP has purchased every child on our Angel Tree a coat,” Cash added. “We don’t want any of our kids to be cold during our frigid Ohio winter.”
Every child also gets a stocking stuffed with candy, toys and pencils and each family gets a popcorn bin.
The department started delivering gifts Thursday and will continue through Wednesday.
Cash gets the Angel Tree families from different community groups in Dayton. All the families are involved in the community and are of need, she said.
“Some of our families have experienced loss, whether it’s a provider or multiple providers,” Cash said. “We have several families where grandparents are raising the grandchildren because [the grandparents] lost their children.”
Cash took over the FOP’s Angel Tree program in 2012 while she was a community engagement officer and the department was looking for ways to get involved in the community.
She said she remembered her church’s Angel Tree program growing up, which eventually led to the department’s program fusing with FOP’s Angel Tree.
Sometimes while delivering the presents, police get to meet the kids, Cash said.
“It’s especially rewarding when we get to see their eyes light up,” she said. “With something like a coat you know you’ve made a difference.”
With police working at night, most officers don’t see that many children unless it’s a bad situation, Cash explained.
“So to be able to see a positive side of what we do, it refreshes our lives,” she added.