For the second year in a row, deputies with the Barnes County Sheriff’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. “We specialize in families in need with financial burdens.”
Crump said names of those helped by the deputies’ group are kept confidential, and “families don’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 – we are very particular who we give to.”
Said Crump, “It is just a great organization that serves Barnes County. Last year we helped quite a few families. Every single dime we take in goes out” to benefit families.
This year’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, “to help us do the program.”
He said donations can be dropped off at the Barnes County Sheriff’s Department offices, 218 Second Ave. N.E.
Crump said both other deputies and Barnes County Sheriff Randy McClaflin strongly support the program.
“It is an awesome program – 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 – it is totally a team effort. We’ve helped quite a few families, and it is all done anonymously, so there is no embarrassment.”
Said Crump, “Our 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.”
A number of local businesses are helping fund the deputies’ program, Crump said. “Alliance Pipeline is a big sponsor, and Bank Froward has donated. Both individuals and businesses are helping out. The sheriff’s department has stepped up wanting to help. We are working hand-in-hand with the community, and everything will stay in Barnes County.”
Gift package contents are specially selected for families they are given to. “We do a lot of research on families to give gifts they will appreciate. Gifts are personalized.”
Crump said one advantage of the program to the sheriff’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.
“It is another attempt to socialize with the residents of Barnes County, and we have the sheriff’s blessing on it,” Crump said.