CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Concord Police officers have been surprising shoppers as they seek to spend a generous anonymous donation.
The police department got $50,000 a few weeks ago to spend however it wanted to benefit the community. Officers have been showing up at grocery stores, Target, Walmart and downtown restaurants giving away $25 and $50 gift cards.
The gesture made Pam Abbot, of Loudon, tear up in the pasta aisle at Market Basket.
"I am very emotionally actually — that was very nice," she told the Concord Monitor. "This is a hard time of year for people. It really is, and to see that - it just makes my day completely."
Beatrice Richmond, who was shopping with her toddler son, said her family has been struggling lately. The surprise gift allowed her to buy him a small treat.
"He's been asking me to buy this for days," she said. "It just means so much."
Officers also handed out hundreds of wrapped gifts during patrols, and brought presents to the homes of crime victims, including a 6-year-old girl who was paralyzed when she was beaten by her mother's boyfriend in 2014.
"She was so happy, it was unbelievable," said Lt. Sean Ford. "Her grandma, who adopted her, was crying when we were taking the presents out of the car."
Chief Brad Osgood said officers planned to spend about half the money by Monday and will distribute the rest later when they see a need in the community.
"You could get rid of $50,000 easy by giving it to one person," he said. "The balance is reaching as many people as we can in the most meaningful way."
Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.concordmonitor.com