Roy’s Kids program makes the holidays brighter

November 18, 2015
Oceana County Sheriff's Deputy Roy Strait

Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Roy Strait

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — Oceana County Sheriff’s deputy Roy Strait has a big heart, and his kindness has made Christmas much merrier for many kids in Oceana County over the years.

The 78-year-old deputy has been in law enforcement for 52 years, and he knows the importance of children seeing police officers in a “good light,” he said.

Every Christmas Eve, needy families in Oceana County are visited by Santa Claus and a uniformed officer, who deliver toys, warm winter clothes and holiday food baskets. They arrive at the homes in a police cruiser “sleigh” filled with presents.

The Roy’s Kids program began in Oceana County in 1997, Roy said. It has grown every year, and there are now three Santas passing out gifts, along with uniformed officers.

In 1994, Roy and his late wife, Dixie, began a similar program in Battle Creek, where Roy was a police officer. Roy later remarried, and his wife Nancy is actively involved in the program.

“A lot of different people got involved,” Roy said. “It is thanks to the kindness and goodness of the people of Oceana County. It’s a great program.” Several area churches are involved, as well as the Red Hat Ladies who provide toys and handmade quilts and hats.

The Department of Health and Human Services offers the majority of referrals for the program, Roy said.

An anonymous donor recently established the Roy’s Kids Fund at the Community Foundation for Oceana County to provide long-term sustainability for the program. Go to the Community Foundation’s website if you would like to donate to Roy’s Kids.

Last year, Roy’s Kids provided donations to approximately 38 families and 175 children, Roy said. The program helps needy families year-round, “but Christmas is the big thing,” Roy said.

“The bottom line is — (1) kids need stuff; and (2) we want kids to see law enforcement in a good light,” he said. “We’re public servants.”

For more information about Roy’s Kids, call the sheriff’s office 231-873-2121.

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