News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Community helps families over holiday

CARLSBAD — With just days to spare until Christmas, the Carlsbad Police Officers Association, or CPOA, banded together to bring a little extra cheer to local families this holiday season.
Carlsbad’s police force rounded up donations and community support to brighten up the holidays for families facing tough economic times. Two families were adopted by the association to be the recipients of gifts delivered by a caravan right to their doorstep.
With the countdown to Christmas in the single digits, the CPOA formed its Public Relations Committee to start what it hopes will become a repeat event throughout the year. In less than two days of reaching out to the community, the committee had received hundreds of dollars worth of donations to share with the families that were handpicked for the event.
“I was so amazed at how fast and how generous people were donating things,” Cpl. Darbie Ernst, one of the committee’s founding members, said.
Officers, city employees and their children helped pick out toys and wrap the gifts for the five children, aged 4 to 13. Daughters of the Carlsbad Police’s canine handler Torrey Cluett — Bayleigh, Tayah and Journie — all joined in to pick out just the right gifts and wrapped them for the adopted families.
“We just went in (the station) and everyone started wrapping,” Ernst said. “It was amazing.”
A traveling caravan, including an antique fire engine and motorcycles, showed up at the homes of the adopted families to play Santa and deliver the gifts. The children were called out over a loudspeaker to come out and see what their community had donated to liven up their holiday.
“It turned out to be a good event and we’re looking forward to doing it again,” Ernst said. “Hopefully with more time to get things together for future events, they’ll be even better.”
The CPOA will continue accepting donations and holding fundraisers throughout the year to support local families. For more information or to donate to the CPOA’s fund, call (760) 931-2165 or e-mail