OCEAN CITY – The annual Ocean City Police Department’s Christmas Needy Drive proved to be a blessing to many local families.
With a volunteer crew of more than 50 people, Chief Bernadette DiPino and her staff tended to more than 60 families, including more than 150 children, this past Saturday at the Public Safety Building.
The OCPD Christmas Needy Drive was started by Chief DiPino’s grandfather in the Baltimore Police Department many years ago. The tradition was continued by her father in Baltimore and later by DiPino in Ocean City.
This year is the 13th year for the OCPD Christmas Needy Drive and each year the event has grown.
This year, the department was fortunate to have received 26 bicycles that were donated by Harborside Refrigeration and Atlantic Physical Therapy. In addition, hundreds of toy and monetary donations came from Fager’s Island, The Greene Turtle, The OC Hibernians, the OC Elks, the 1st State Detachment Marine Corps League and several Ocean City community members.
The OCPD Christmas Needy Drive volunteers not only helped families load toys and boxes of food for the holidays, but also assisted in transportation for some people who otherwise would have had to take the bus.
“Every year our community seems to be more generous than ever. I was truly overwhelmed by the donations and the volunteers from the community as well as from the police officers and their families; this was truly what Christmas is all about,” DiPino said. “On behalf of the Ocean City Police Department, and the families who received these wonderful gifts, I can not thank our community enough. I also want to thank Food Lion Grocery Store and particularly the store Manager Cheryl Tucker and Customer Service Manager Tracy Smith for working with us to ensure we were able to provide a bounty of food to those in need. Extra food and toys were given to the Noel Group and Ocean City Baptist Church, on North Division Street. The Ocean City Police Department sincerely thanks all of those who made donations in support of this event.”