The Watch with Will Kennedy: CMPD Spreading Holiday Cheer

CHARLOTTE, NC — Often times, when people interact with police officers, it is under stressful conditions. A 911 call. Maybe a car accident. But CMPD is changing that dynamic during the holiday season; reaching out to lend a hand to those in need in the community.

“It’s all about the families and the kids that are in need,” says CMPD Captain Jim Wilson. “So you can adopt families. You can make donations. And you get to see it through to the end.”

For 40 years, CMPD has been spreading holiday joy, bringing Christmas to needy families across Mecklenburg County. This year the Explorers Christmas Project will serve more than 1,300 children, delivering toys, bikes and gift cards this Saturday morning.

“The community has come through this year with this project,” says Officer Ryan Botzenmayer, CMPD Youth Program Coordinator. “Donations are up. Volunteers coming into the warehouse are up. Because we couldn’t do this without the support of the community.”

“The officers and volunteers will actually go out,” says Capt. Wilson. “They’ll deliver the presents to the families. And it really gives you that great sense of joy.”

The number of items donated is up this year, and that means more elves are needed in the CMPD warehouse. It takes a ton of work behind the scenes.

Officers from all 13 CMPD divisions, Charlotte Fire, the District Attorney’s Office, Code Enforcement and CMPD Explorer cadets all put in time wrapping gifts, packing boxes and loading it all into the delivery trucks.

“They get out here at night and hold their meetings out here,” says Officer Botzenmayer. “They volunteer on delivery day.
Volunteer at the warehouse.”

“It’s just really important to me that every child can wake up and have presents under the tree and feel special on Christmas Day,” says volunteer Regina Hinson, with the Charlotte District Attorney’s Office.

The 41st Annual Explorers Christmas Project kicks off Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. with a ceremony hosted by Chief Kerr Putney at the Salvation Army Christmas Center on Arrowood Road.