This was the first time the Monroe Police Department has provided holiday gifts to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Local businesses assisted with the toy drive.
This was the first time the Monroe Police Department has provided holiday gifts to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Local businesses assisted with the toy drive.

The Monroe Police Department added many new names to its gift list this season.

Nearly half a dozen off-duty officers in their full uniforms, and with some family in tow, trucked boxes full of presents and a check for $1,000 to the Seattle Children’s Hospital on Friday. The officers were assisted by their spouses; Officer Devin Tucker and his wife Sarah headed the efforts.

“We wanted to come here and show some love to the families,” he said.

The Operation Hope for Children’s drive was put on with the Cascade MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).

Ten dozen handmade cards, pinecone ornaments for bedside tables, toys and books donated by Monroe community members were dropped off for the kids. 

“We are going to be able to connect these items to a lot of children and families, where it will have an immense impact,” said children’s hospital volunteer coordinator Alexis Vanselow.

Devin Tucker said the couple had considered reaching out to the facility for some time. Everything finally fell in place this year. He said they wanted the patients and families to know there are people caring about them during these trying times who are outside of their immediate community.

“It’s just a good cause to help out these kids,” said Sgt. Rick Dunn. “It’s always a sad thing to go through the cancer ward and seeing their lives cut short, or they are going through a hardship they shouldn’t have to. Seeing these kids always sticks with you.”

Seattle Children’s Hospital is the pediatric and adolescent referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. It opened in 1907 and is the primary teaching site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The facility has 371 beds, and nearly 421,000 annual patient visits at its main campus and other regional clinics. It has been named among the nation’s best children’s hospitals for 25 years in a row by the U.S. News and World Report.

Officers Travis Block and Jake Eriks had worked at the hospital in the past, so the new tradition was particularly close to their hearts. Eriks said he knew the department was putting on the drive and volunteered to make the trip.

“I wanted to be a part of it,” Eriks said. “It’s cool, it’s a good feeling. They do amazing things here.”

Sarah Tucker said the fundraiser in the Monroe community was well received in its first year. About $800 in gifts was given for the cause. Devin Tucker said Thrive Community Fitness, the Monroe Police Department and Cascade Community Church were drop-off sites for the donations. Original Pilot House Coffee, Sam’s Cats and Dogs Naturally and other businesses helped spread the word, Sarah Tucker said.

She said the desire to offer the younger patients support was partly because it spoke personally to the people in her own life. Many Monroe Police families have children, and mothers she knows through Cascade MOPS have talked about their direct and personal experiences with the children’s hospital. And, of course, it had something to do with the holidays.

“We wanted to do a project that was special to the season we are in,” she said.

Vanselow said the hospital is so appreciative of the generosity. Many offers for donations come in around the holidays, and often those gifts sustain the facility in many ways throughout the year.