For the second year in a row, deputies with the Barnes County Sheriffâ€™s Department are working to make the holiday season a bit brighter for county families in need.
Deputy Scott Crump said he and fellow deputy Don Fiebiger started Deputy Secret Santas in 2011, to benefit families in Barnes County. â€śWe specialize in families in need with financial burdens.â€ť
Crump said names of those helped by the deputiesâ€™ group are kept confidential, and â€śfamilies donâ€™t even know until we show up at their doorsteps. Don and I walk up with a box of presents with gift certificates and cash â€“ we are very particular who we give to.â€ť
Said Crump, â€śIt is just a great organization that serves Barnes County. Last year we helped quite a few families. Every single dime we take in goes outâ€ť to benefit families.
This yearâ€™s program began early last week and continues through Christmas.
In order to help as many families in need as possible, Crump said they are seeking donations from individuals, businesses and organizations in Barnes County, â€śto help us do the program.â€ť
He said donations can be dropped off at the Barnes County Sheriffâ€™s Department offices, 218 Second Ave. N.E.
Crump said both other deputies and Barnes County Sheriff Randy McClaflin strongly support the program.
â€śIt is an awesome program â€“ we deal with families all over the county and felt there was a need. Don Fiebiger and I came up with the idea, but it is a program by all Barnes County deputies â€“ it is totally a team effort. Weâ€™ve helped quite a few families, and it is all done anonymously, so there is no embarrassment.â€ť
Said Crump, â€śOur goal is to assist families or individuals who have had a major change in their life due to unexpected medical expenses, death, loss of job, military service personnel on active duty and/or other family crises.â€ť
A number of local businesses are helping fund the deputiesâ€™ program, Crump said. â€śAlliance Pipeline is a big sponsor, and Bank Froward has donated. Both individuals and businesses are helping out. The sheriffâ€™s department has stepped up wanting to help. We are working hand-in-hand with the community, and everything will stay in Barnes County.â€ť
Gift package contents are specially selected for families they are given to. â€śWe do a lot of research on families to give gifts they will appreciate. Gifts are personalized.â€ť
Crump said one advantage of the program to the sheriffâ€™s department is it fits in with community policing and helping residents think of deputies as more than just a person who hands out speeding tickets.
â€śIt is another attempt to socialize with the residents of Barnes County, and we have the sheriffâ€™s blessing on it,â€ť Crump said.