Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Association buys gifts for local families

Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Association buys gifts for local families

Members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Association (JCSA) met at Walmart in Port Arthur on Dec. 16 to purchase presents for struggling families and to pleasantly surprise some shoppers by buying toys for the tots on their “nice” lists.

JCSA collects funds during its annual Cops Helping Kids Fishing Tournament and then distributes those funds to local charities and people in the community. The tournament has grown each year, JCSA President Deputy William “Ike” Eichelberger said.

“It keeps getting bigger, and that means we can give away more money,” Ike said. “People come from all over Texas and Louisiana to participate in the tournament. Every year, we spread the money out throughout Jefferson County.”

Ike said deputies identified families in the community who needed help buying gifts during the holiday season, and asked the families to make wish lists. The deputies then went shopping for the items on the lists, taking the trip to their local Walmart.

“We’re also going to do some random surprises,” Ike said. He explained. “We are going to go inside and if we see shoppers with children’s items in their shopping carts; we’re going to surprise them at checkout by buying those items.”

Ike said approximately 15 officers had volunteered to help shop for families with wish lists.

Grandmother Alma Castillo has four grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 8 years old. Her husband is on disability, she says, and buying Christmas gifts for the young ones would have been “difficult.”

“This was a surprise for me,” Castillo said as she left the store with a cart overflowing with children’s toys and clothes. “The sheriff’s (association) bought everything.”

JCSA has been making the holidays merrier for multiple Jefferson County charities this Christmas season. They donated $5,000 to Garth House on Dec. 13, and plan ade visit to Girls’ Haven to drop off a $1,500 donation from tournament proceeds.

“We’re asking for everybody to have a safe holiday and a happy holiday and to take care of each other,” said Ike.