FAIRFIELD — Small faces peered from steamy windows rimmed with Christmas lights Tuesday night as Fairfield police officers dressed in full uniform and wearing Santa Claus hats walked up the driveways to the houses.

The cops were on a mission to bring joy to more than 200 children with toys, clothing and teddy bears to put under the tree.

They cry. They laugh. They say thank you, Officer Shanna Blodgett said, her face illuminated by a flashlight checking the gift list and delivery routes through rural Fairfield.

“The families receive it very well. It’s a very emotional night for us and them,” Blodgett said making her rounds. “Some families really need the help, and this is what’s helping them out at Christmastime. And then other families like to see officers come to the house for a positive reason. The kids love seeing the officers.”

Fairfield Police Chief Thomas Gould prepared for the night deliveries from the basement of the Town Office, where his list was checked — more than twice.

“I’ve actually checked this list about 300 times,” Gould said while wearing his Santa hat.

Each of the stuffed animals had a small card with all the police officers’ names on it, including this year Karen Nightingale, formerly O’Donnell, of Gardiner, who died in July of injuries from a motorcycle accident.

The program called Cops Care For Kids was started eight years ago by Fairfield police Capt. Kingston Paul, who retired in November. The idea began with a handful of needy families and grew each year to include more than 100 families with 222 children. The presents — three wrapped gifts and a teddy bear for each child — is paid for with weekly contributions from each of the full-time police officers, Gould said.

“It comes from us. Every officer puts money into a fund every week when we get paid,” he said. “It builds to between $1,000 and $1,200 a year, and we use that to go buy all the gifts.”

Gould said the gifts for all the good little boys and girls in Fairfield include “a little bit of everything” from crayons and coloring books to dolls, games, pajamas, hats, mittens, sleds and puzzles. The Christmas deliveries were done Tuesday night by about 10 full-time officers, five or six reserve officers and the department’s dispatcher.

Gould said the program started with some teddy bears left over from a program that gives stuffed animals to children who suddenly are exposed to trauma, such as a fire or an accident or a home burglary.

Gould said any family that lives in Fairfield is eligible for the Cops Care For Kids program. The Police Department sends out forms to the elementary schools, and the schools send the forms home with the children.

“We make a master list of all the names of the kids and their ages, and we spend one whole day shopping,” the chief said.

Gould said the Fairfield Police Department is no different from any other law enforcement agency in Maine, noting that “we’re all here just to help people.”

“This gets us into the house and to see the kids, and it’s something positive we do every year,” Gould said. “We’re not speaking about what’s going on in the rest of the world. All that matters to us is what’s going on in Fairfield, Maine.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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