Once again, the Holden Police Department is helping to spread some holiday cheer this year.

Chief Chris Greeley said they implemented a special program about 5 years ago, centered around performing acts of kindness.

"The 25 Days of Kindness is something the Holden Police Department started literally 5 years ago. We thought it would be interesting to try to reach out to the community in a creative way, perhaps a way that we wouldn't normally, and by that I mean if you see a person struggling to bring their groceries in, I wanted my officers to pull over and give them a hand. If you saw an older person shoveling their walkway, after a snowstorm, and they clearly were struggling, then jump out and help them shovel their walkway. So it is things that sometimes the police just don't think to do, but they're actually really important. So what I did 5 years ago is I tried to incentivize my officers to look for those opportunities and do those little acts of good deeds, and that has morphed into something much more significant 5 years later."

Grinch Photo, Holden PD
Grinch Photo, Holden PD
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Greeley said that once people heard about what Holden PD was trying to do, the community stepped up to the plate to help out.

"Now people are asking 'How can I help?' We've had organizations like The Grand Lodge of Maine make financial donations and Maine Horse and Rider, Apex Metals and Leadbetter's Superstores has been a supporter, and countless other organizations who have come to the Holden Police Department and said 'What can we do to help?' And so now we are generating thousands of dollars of money and gift cards and clothing and toys and things that we then regift to the community. "

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Greeley said in just one afternoon this week, he and his officers surprised 6 Holden Community Members with cash donations and supplies to get them by. He said he works with organizations in the community to identify who in town is struggling and has a need. This week's recipients include two women who were recently widowed, one of whom had a couple of young children.

Toys For Tots Donation, Holden PD
Toys For Tots Donation, Holden PD
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"I think we feel, collectively, that yeah, arresting people for breaking the law, that's one component, stopping cars for speeding and all those other things that cops do, that's certainly part of the job, but why can't it be more? Should we not reach out to the community and see if we can't help people when they are in need, whether it be they're low on heating oil, or they literally need food, or they need a gas card or even just human contact. "

Baby Clothes Donation, Holden PD
Baby Clothes Donation, Holden PD
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"Yesterday we met with a 91-year-old woman and gave her a little Christmas stocking full of goodies, but really I think what was more important to her was just to have the human face-to-face interaction in her living room. So in some cases, we're helping people by handing out hundred-dollar bills, in others, it's just checking in to see if they're okay or can help them with some small deed. I can tell you that last year, in one month alone, my officers did 97 separate acts of good deeds. Now think about that, in this little community, 97 acts of good deeds in one month, in addition to the money and toys and donations we generate and then regift, so I am really proud of this department as a whole."

Greeley says the community rallying around the police department has made such deeds possible. He says they are still accepting donations for the 25 Days Of Kindness program and will accept donations beyond the Christmas Season, as people are always in need.

You can reach Chief Greeley at the Holden Police Department by calling  (207) 843-5442 or you can email him at cgtc@aol.com

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