DANBURY, Conn. — When the kids in the Greek Orthodox Youth Association created care packages of goodies for every member of the Danbury police force, they included one special bit of candy — Life Savers.
The candy was chosen “because they represent the police saving lots of people’s lives,” said Julia Lane, 12, a member of G.O.Y. A.
“The police do a lot for the community and for our city,” said Julia. “We thought it would be nice to give them something they can look forward to every day."
On Thursday, the youth group headed to the Danbury Police Department to deliver the care packages.
"We chose to recognize the Danbury Police Department for Make A Difference Day to express our thanks and gratitude for their service,” said Laurie Lane, youth group adviser.
Lane said she has many family members in law enforcement.
“We keep seeing media postings portraying the the police in a bad light," she said. "We wanted to do this to give them something good to thank them for their service."
G.O.Y.A., which is made up of about 20 children in grades 7-12, is part of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Danbury.
National Make A Difference Day, which was on Oct. 22, is an annual community service event that aims to perform an act of kindness to improve the lives of others. On that day, the kids prepared 150 care packages, packing them with sanitizers, tissues, chapstick and a bag of candy, including Hershey's Kisses, gum, Life Savers and Tootsie Rolls.
It took the children several hours to put the care packages together, doing it in "an assembly line fashion," Lane said.
As the officers received the packages, Chief Patrick Ridenhour thanked all the children, parents and church leaders. “It’s always nice to be recognized because sometimes that’s doesn’t happen,” he said.
“You are always welcome at the Danbury Police Department,” he told the children, “but on this side,” he chuckled.
This is the church's second year of participating in National Make A Difference Day.
“In all our worship services, we pray for public servants, the Armed Forces, the president and the country. In addition to praying, we also like to show our appreciation by performing a kind action,” said the Rev. Nikolas Karloutsos of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church.
”It’s part of the bigger picture of Make A Difference Day that trickles into all the different ministries in the Greek Orthodox Church," he added.
The Assumption Greek Orthodox Church on Clapboard Ridge Road is nearly 80 years old and has about 300 members.