One California police department is finding ways to make a positive impact within the community through acts of kindness it has planned for every month of this year.
In a statement, the Oceanside Police Department shared that it had received a $20,000 donation in December which led to the development of its "Random Acts of Kindness Project."
"What started as a Secret Santa Operation in December of 2021 has grown to a year-long project aimed at spreading a little kindness around the city of Oceanside. Oceanside Police Department's Random Acts of Kindness Project has been made possible by a $20,000 donation from the Fortin family, who established an Acts of Kindness Fund within Trauma Intervention Programs Inc."
The department says it will spread the donation out over the course of the year with a different giving effort that focuses on "making connections between officers and the community."
Officers interact with people daily and many could use a helping hand or just a kind gesture to lift their spirits. Whether it's providing meals, delivering clothing, or giving someone a ride, the project is guaranteed to assist with those efforts.
"It's a cool experience to get out in the community and make people smile and serve in a different way," said Officer Andy Gularte.
The initiative this month involved officers handing out $100 to people shopping in grocery stores," KGTV reports.
One woman was stunned by the gesture.
"Are you serious?" she asked the officers, later saying "I never thought of anything like that happening ... it's remarkable, takes your breath away."
Another citizen was left speechless after Officer Jelena Sosa offered the money to her.
"Seeing that and seeing the impression I left her today with her daughter, it makes me feel good. It reminds me every day why I do this job," said Officer Sosa.
And last month, Oceanside officers stopped at gas stations to hand out envelopes with $50 bills inside.
"When the prices of gas skyrocketed, that became an obvious choice to go out and help people out at the gas pumps," said Jennifer Atenza, the department's public information officer.
The department also hopes the program will strengthen its relationship with residents.
"The more opportunities that we have to engage with people outside of crisis situations I think deepen relationships and deepen understanding," noted Oceanside Police Chief Fred Armijo.