Hartford Police Deliver Toys for Kids Affected by Violence

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With bags full of gifts, Hartford police officers arrived just in time. They heard Santa's 911 and rushed right over.

"It's great. If we can make their holidays a little better, put a smile on their face on an otherwise difficult time of year around the holidays, we did our job," said Lt. Paul Cicero.

For 10 years, Mothers United Against Violence has hosted a holiday party for families who have lost loved ones to violence. So when they found out there weren't enough gifts for the kids, police stepped up to help.

"This year we got a call from them, and they were running a little low with presents. So I reached out to all the fraternal organization presidents with the Hartford Police Department, we got our funds together, and the cadets went shopping today. And we brought a van full of gifts and gift cards," said Cicero.

For families who've lost loved ones from violence, the holidays can be especially difficult.

"It doesn't go away. It's like living a new norm. We're learning to move on, but we still hold him within our hearts," said Yvette Jackson.

Jackson's nephew, Rashawn Jackson, was killed two years ago, and he left behind his 4-year-old son. She said events like this help families still struggling.

"To me, when you grieve, that's a lifestyle. It's not something that comes and goes. It's a lifestyle," said Darlene Childs.

Childs' son, Chace Hernandez, was killed nearly three years ago when he was just 27. He left behind four kids, including 11-year-old Tiana Alvin. This year, Santa gave Alvin a gift card, but she's not planning to spend it on herself.

"I'll be able to get Christmas gifts for people," said Alvin. "I'm a happy child. I get a lot of stuff. I have enough stuff I already want, so I want to give."

MUAV helps families year-round and hosts the party to help take everyone's minds off the trauma. They said the good spreads and strengthens families and neighborhoods.

"It brings joy and hope to our children," said MUAV President Henrietta Beckman.

For Tiana, it gives her a chance to give back too.

"It's fun. I like it," said Tiana.

If you'd like to learn more about MUAV or donate, click here.

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