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Police officers provide early Christmas for 120 Memphis families

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There's still more than a week before Christmas, but in Memphis the giving is already underway.

Friday afternoon, the MPD's Community Outreach Program held it's annual Families Christmas Celebration.

The event has been helping needy families have a merry Christmas for more than 15 years.

One after another, deserving Memphis youngsters got an early Christmas.

"An iPad and some other presents," one young girl said about her gifts.

The annual Families Christmas Celebration is part of the MPD's Community Outreach Program, or "COP."

"We have kids from North and South Memphis, East and Downtown, you name it. And we're basically providing Christmas gifts for them for the Christmas holiday season," said Officer Clayton Turner, the event organizer.

Thanks to dozens of sponsors, 120 families were chosen to receive toys, clothing and a BBQ meal.

"They put out the money, and we purchase gifts. And some of them do the shopping themselves," said Turner.

There was no doubting how successful the event was.

"They got lots of love and gifts and fun. And they was able to be taken care of as kids. And I thank the police department for that," said Jennifer Twilley.

Twilley is a mother of four, and her youngest got a shiny new bike.

She believes each and every police officer gets the thanks.

"I feel very great about it. Because this time of the year is the time to give and have thanks and to be able to give to others, especially the unfortunate," Twilley said.

Recipient Guadalupe Sanchez feels the same way.

"I love it, I love it. They're helping not only just me, but they're helping other families, every family that is in need," she said.

Officers with COP will start planning next years celebration in January, which is when it will start collecting names of needy families from police officers in the community.

"They see the conditions of homes, have teachers, principals, people in the community that just know the conditions of the kids, and they just bring me the names," Turner said.

The Community Outreach Program started under former director Toney Armstrong.