The Panama City Beach Police Department is continuing a tradition more than 25 years running; delivering holiday meal baskets to families in need, ensuring they all have a happy thanksgiving.
With frozen turkey in hand, Officer Shaun Maguadog gladly delivered the thanksgiving meals, Monday. It's a job that hits especially close to home.
"When I was growing up, we were pretty poor. We didn't have much. So, we were the ones relying on the community to help us. And now, I'm in a position where I can be the one helping those in need. I can give back what I used to receive as a child," said Maguadog.
For three years he has organized the event that has grown each year.
"When everyone comes together and it goes off without a hitch, that's the best part," he said.
Bright and early Monday morning, officers beat the chill to pack up more than 90 baskets, complete with turkey, sides, drinks and desert.
"Families and especially young kids need to know that they can come to use for help. We're not the bad guys all the time. They see us in a light where we're putting someone in jail, writing a ticket...we like to give back, showing these kids we are their friends and we're here to help them," said Police Chief Drew Whitman.
It's a community effort several months in the making.
Students from Hutchinson Beach Elementary, Breakfast Point Elementary and Surfside Middle School collected and donated the dry and canned foods that are delivered for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"We do protect and we do serve and we also bring people together," said Magaudog.
This holiday season, they will continue to be stewards, paying it forward and ensuring a happy holiday is had by all.
Families who were scheduled to receive a basket but were not home during the delivery should contact the Panama City Beach Police Department to get your basket and turkey in time for the holiday.
Panama City Beach Police – (850) 233-5000