The checkout lines at Bi-Lo on Saturday in York had the familiar refrain of “paper or plastic,” but the people saying it looked a little different – the baggers were law enforcement officers and armed.
Members of the York Police Department spent four hours bagging groceries at the East Liberty Street store and collected more than $1,300 for Christmas presents for kids. The officers made the money by accepting tips from customers.
“This is another way to be out in the community, for the public to see the police in a helpful way,” said Lt. Dale Edwards who runs the community services unit.
The officers and dispatchers worked in teams to bag the groceries as part of the department’s annual toy drive. The department through the year identifies children from service calls and other means who might not receive Christmas gifts.
Last year, the department helped 87 children by providing toys, clothes, shoes and other items. Chief Andy Robinson, who was one of the baggers Saturday along with officers from command staff down to patrol, has pushed community service as part of the police’s role in serving the people of York.
York is a city of around 8,000 residents.
The department invites the parents of the children who are to receive gifts to the department before the holiday to pick up the gifts after volunteers wrap the presents.
For information on how to help, call the York Police Department at 803-684-4141 or visit the department’s Facebook page.