South Tahoe police gives back with ’12 Days of Kindness’

Laney Griffo


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — During a year that has been dark for many, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department has aimed to be a beacon of light with its “12 Days of Kindness” campaign.

For 12 days, from Dec. 2-14, the SLTPD donated gifts and money to several community members and local businesses.

“It was a cumulative effort department wide,” said SLTPD Lt. Travis Cabral. “With everything going on this year and this being a small community, we’ve seen everything people have gone through and wanted a way to give back.”

The department and its associated organizations pulled together money internally, much of which was raised through No Shave November, which the department extended into December.

Day one started with a donation to Susan Baumflek, aka “The Mask Lady,” who has sewed and donated over 5,000 face masks since the beginning of the pandemic.

The South Lake Tahoe K9 Association purchased a gift basket from Cork and More to Kaufman and a $100 gift certificate toward fabric from Focus on Interiors.

On day two, the department gave local girl Sole’ a 15th birthday gift since her parents have been unable to work due to pandemic. They purchased her a A $100 gift card from Gaialicious and a $100 art supply gift bag from Wildwood Makers Market.

Cabral said part of the goal was not only to help citizens but also help local businesses which have also been struggling through the pandemic so the gifts were all purchased locally.

Day three turned into a givingpalooza. It started by honoring Tahoe AleWorx and Cocktail Corner owner Luca Genasci for his #payitforward initiative with gift cards from Bert’s Care and Ernie’s Coffee Shop. In addition, SLTPD opened $150 tabs at Tahoe Bagel Co. and Dragon Fly Bagel on Genasci’s behalf.

In a surprise twist, Genasci’s parents paid for a local man’s dental needs who in turn paid it forward by purchasing lunch from Lake Tahoe AleWorx for the entire police and South Lake Tahoe Fire staff. The man also gave the Police Officers Association $350.

But wait, there’s more. Revive Coffee and Wine pitched in on the food purchase, allowing El Dorado County Sheriff deputies in South Lake to also dine and Burt’s Cafe, gave them a $100 for their offices. Finally, DragonFly Bagel gave both SLTPD and SLTFR $150 gift cards.

Cabral said one of their goals was to start a movement, so day three was a huge success.

On day four, the SLTPD SWAT Association opened a $500 tab at Revive Coffee and Wine and a $500 tab at Cuppa Tahoe which went towards a free cup of coffee for local teachers. Both places matched the donation.

“I think it’s so awesome they are recognizing teachers,” said Revive owner Robin Bender. “Teachers are invaluable so anytime we can give back to them is great.”

On day five, the Police Officers Association dropped $600 worth of toys to Christmas Cheer. Then on day six, the association purchased a $250 gift card from Grassroots Tahoe to give to April and Dan Herrera, who have fostered over 100 children and adopted four children through the program.

On the seventh day, the association partnered with Live Violence Free to bring presents to a family in need. Officer Jason Nixon acted as Santa when delivering the gifts.

“We are so grateful for our community partners,” said LVF executive director Chelcee Thomas. “This family was full of smiles and were so grateful.”

Thomas added that SLTPD is always reaching out and looking for ways to help the organization.

On the eighth day, SLTPD partnered with the Family Resource Center to purchase a $200 gift card from Los Mexicanos / Plaza Tapatia that will assist a family with food insecurities during these difficult times.

Blessed Hands Barbershop and the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless partnered to give free haircuts to people experiencing homelessness so on day nine, officers thanked them both. They purchased a $200 gift card from Sprouts Cafe to give to Blessed Hands and gave a surplus vehicle to the Homeless Coalition.

On day 10, officers purchased 40 turkeys from Overland Meat which will be donated to Phoenix Food Pantry.

The Firefighters Association helped on day 11 by donating $1,000 to the Police Officers Association to purchase gift bags for Barton Health emergency staff who have been on the frontline of the pandemic. They purchased gift cards from Burger Lounge, Taqueria Jalisco, Ten Crows BBQ, California Burger, PokeRok, Red Hut Cafe, Sidellis Lake Tahoe, Coldwater Brewery, Orchids Thai Cuisine, South of North Brewing and Social House Tahoe.

They ended their 12 days of kindness with a partnership with Sierra Church. They purchased $300 in gift cards from Freshies Tahoe, Primo’s Italian Bistro and Verde Mexican Rotisserie to help a local resident who is fighting cancer and her family.

“No matter what your politics or thoughts on COVID, we can still show kindness and come out of this together,” said Cabral.

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