EPS K9 unit partners with Santa to spread holiday cheer

Spreading holiday cheer and helping families in need was the mission of the day for Edmonton's K9 unit.

Police dogs and their handlers dropped off gifts to struggling families across the city Friday as part of the Edmonton Police Foundation's Holiday Heroes campaign.

Ten families received gifts valued at $1,000 chosen from their wishlist of items needed to help make the holidays a little easier.

For Edmonton Police Foundation member Ashif Mawji, the campaign helps police spread positivity during the Christmas season and build community relationships.

"These families have so many other things to worry about, so we want to make sure they can stay safe, strong, and healthy," said Ashif Mawji, Edmonton Police Foundation member.

"Let us worry about your Christmas," he added.

"Usually, people deal with us on their worst day," said Cst. Brad LeBritton. "So, it's really fun to be part of this and get to people in this happy, positive light.

"We like to see the smiles on their faces. It sounds cliche, but that's a big part of it," he added. "To see them happy."

Single mother Melissa Clark was one of the beneficiaries this year. She received baby food, groceries, and toys for her one-year-old daughter Willow.

"It's really helpful," Clark said. "With COVID, it's been difficult."

Clark says she can now celebrate a normal Christmas — her daughter's first-ever.

"I appreciate it so much, and I know Willow will have a good Christmas."