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 Macomb County Sheriff Deputy Ken Willis holds gift cards last year that were donated by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Macomb County Sheriff Deputy Ken Willis holds gift cards last year that were donated by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Photo provided by Renee Yax


Sheriff’s Office gives away gift cards for Christmas

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published December 19, 2019

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MACOMB COUNTY — Instead of issuing traffic tickets, members of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office recently handed out Christmas cheer in the form of gift cards.

The plan was for patrol deputies to hand out gift cards Dec. 23, after press time, to appreciative citizens in need for the office’s third annual gift card giveaway.

Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Renee Yax said more and more gift cards are passed out each year.

Yax, along with traffic Deputy Mike Dixon, planned to cruise around the county, handing out cards.

“We try to look for people that we feel would appreciate the gift card and (are) in need of one,” she said. “We all could benefit from it, but there are definitely those that could probably benefit from it more than others.”

Sheriff’s Office employees and staff donated cash, and then gift cards were purchased for businesses like Walmart and Meijer. Cash donations from the public, which made up a majority of the cards, were also accepted through Dec. 20.

Last year, cards were handed out to people at bus stops, working outside in the cold, at laundromats, and to those working on the holiday.

Yax added that the giveaway received a great response last year. Video of the event was scheduled to be streamed live on the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. Last year’s videos racked up around 45,000 views.

“People love watching the cheer,” she said. “People who comment on the livestream are just as happy to watch it as they are to receive.”

Not only does the Sheriff’s Office give gift cards to random individuals it comes across, but if deputies on a call see folks in need, some gift cards may be used to purchase Christmas gifts or food, and make a special delivery.

Yax said it helps that police officers are often in a position where they can give out gift cards to needy individuals or families that may not have the resources to buy essentials during the holidays.

“Those who receive it are happy, and you can see their faces light up,” she said. “It’s great to know that people who need cards are getting them and it’s making someone’s day.”

Yax noted that working in law enforcement, many times while responding to the public it’s because people have called for help.

“When we get to go out and do this, it’s being proactive and being there when we’re not needed,” she said.   

In a video from last Christmas Eve, Sgt. Mike Shorkey said distributing the cards is a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

“There’s a lot of people that need the money, and the main thing is we want to show our appreciation to all the people that we work for and show them that we care,” he said.  

Yax said the reason behind streaming it on Facebook is to show the public where their donations are going. 

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