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WFPD gives to Boys & Girls Clubs following Back the Beard campaign

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 7:41 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Kids chanted and cheered as police motorcycles and cars drove into the Boys and Girls Club on Broad St. Friday evening, bringing with them a trailer of toys and equipment for the organization.

The Wichita Falls Police Department and Police Officers Association had bought the items with money raised through the Back the Beard Campaign in November and December after conferring with club directors on what they needed. Children and staff from various Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Wichita Falls then gathered to receive the gifts on Friday.

Cara Sauceda, director of programs at the Boys and Girls Clubs of WF, described the day as a second Christmas.

“These kids are getting another chance at new things, shiny things, and while that’s not what makes the world go round, that is what makes these kiddos’ worlds go round,” Sauceda said. “Because they’re kids, you know, they want a new basketball, they want a new TV, and they want to feel like they have something special. And today, they got a lot of special things.”

Sauceda’s sentiment rang true when looking at the mountain of gifts that had been gathered. WFPD and the POA gifted two clubs with 75″ and 65″ TVs, and announced that another would receive an Oculus on Monday. Some clubs got Xboxes and Xbox subscriptions, while others amassed piles of footballs, basketballs and board games. The Boys and Girls Clubs in the area would not be able to provide the same quality of equipment to all of their locations on their own.

“Without events like this, we would keep going, but the equipment’s falling apart in today’s hard economy. We have to make difficult decisions, and a lot of the time the equipment is what’s put off,” Sauceda explained.

The Back the Beard campaign is in its second year. The program’s premise was simple: WFPD patrol officers are usually not allowed to have most facial hair, but were allowed to grow out their beards during November and December as long as they donated $25 during each pay period. All proceeds from the event went toward buying new equipment for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls, and they were able to raise $13,031.

That money went towards everything from heat presses so the clubs could make t-shirts more easily and cheaply, to life-size Connect Fours. But Sauceda pointed out that the generosity of the WFPD and POA would go a lot further than material gifts.

“Yes, it’s a lot of really fun stuff, but just think about the goodwill created today, and the image these children are going to have of their police force,” Sauceda said.

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