Saint John police back with Holiday in a Box campaign

The Saint John Police Force is ready to bring more smiles to the community this Christmas season, announcing the second year of its Holiday in a Box campaign on Monday.

Saint John police Chief Robert Bruce acknowledged the campaign's success in 2021 at a press conference on Monday afternoon, adding that this year may surpass previous numbers.

"Last year we had 467 boxes, so this year we are hoping to get more."

According to Bruce, both the community and the police department "really stepped up last year" and "the need is becoming greater."

Bruce challenged all the members of the Saint John Police Force and the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners for one undecorated box each filled with toiletries, winter garments, stationaries, gift cards, non-perishable treats, etc. He also brought two shoe boxes that he and his wife put together.

During the campaign, Saint Johners fill shoe boxes with toiletries, essentials and treats, which are later wrapped by the police and distributed to the less fortunate in the community via five community partners.

Along with Bruce, representatives from five community partners: Crescent Valley Resource Centre, Carlton Community Centre, ONE Change Inc., P.U.L.S.E. Inc.(Saint John) and the Waterloo Village Neighbourhood Association, were also present at the conference.

Tamara Kelly, executive director at ONE Change Inc. and chair of the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners, shared a memory from last year when while unloading the boxes one of her staff members, who was recently out of high school, looked at the boxes and said, "this is why I like working in community."

She said the residents were touched and "they were so thankful."

"It was really successful and it really made people feel better."

According to her assessment, the feedback from the residents was really appreciative and the boxes were well received.

"Every bit of it was used, you didn't hear anything about somebody being disappointed, that's for sure."

She said due to this being the second year for the campaign, there is more knowledge of the boxes and some residents will be looking forward to them, while some will be surprised.

Bruce said residents, shops, sports teams, etc., are all encouraged to make a male or female box. The drop-off hours are every Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1 Peel Plaza until Dec. 12.

Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal