Police sergeant's past inspires him to provide for needy
ASU Police Department Sergeant Daniel Macias knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of charitable efforts for needy families during the holidays. Raised by a single mother early in life, his family didn’t have enough money to celebrate the holidays one year, but a charitable organization came to the family’s aid and made sure everyone had presents and food.
“From that point on, I said, ‘If I have the means, I’m going to do what I can to help other people,'" Macias said. “It meant so much to me because we didn’t have anything.”
That’s why Macias and the ASU Police Department are committed to making sure their food and toy drive efforts reach as many people as possible during the holidays, to benefit needy families.
Police personnel are collecting non-perishable food items and toys this year with collection boxes at all campuses through Dec. 20. (Items can also be dropped off at the Tempe ASU Police Department up until noon of Dec. 23.)
“We helped one family last year where the father had just lost his wife. He was struggling to make ends meet and provide for his son,” Macias said. “The families are always grateful to get anything.”
Besides the toy and food drive, ASU Police personnel participate in Teen Shop With a Cop in conjunction with the Police Officers of Scottsdale Association, where young people aged 13 to 17 share a meal with officers at Scottsdale Fashion Square and then shop for presents.
“They’re working with teens who set excellent examples and think of others. They like to reward them for a job well done throughout the year,” Macias said.
ASU Police also take part in Shop with a Cop for children aged seven to 14 years old who are paired with an officer and taken to Scottsdale Chaparral Suites for a meal, photos with Santa Claus and interactions with Darth Vader and storm troopers this year. A lighted police escort then takes the kids to Wal-Mart, where they shop for themselves and their families. Kids up to age 12 are able to receive gifts through the W. Steven Martin Toy Drive that ASU also participates in with police departments throughout the Valley.
Children oftentimes think of buying gifts for their parents, brothers and sisters before themselves.
“That’s just awesome to see when they do that. These are the kids who really deserve what they are getting,” Macias said.
Other than the material things that toy and food drives provide, the efforts also give officers an opportunity to interact with children and teens in a positive way.
“It’s a way to build bonds with kids at an early age and talk to them about making good choices,” Macias said.
Police personnel also have a great time wrapping gifts and delivering boxes overflowing with holiday treats to families.
“This is such a good thing for our department. I really believe in this program and what it does,” he added.