ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office spent the day surprising families across the county.
An anonymous donor donated $5,000 to the Sheriff’s Office. Their goal was to make sure that families across the county get some holiday cheer. Sheriff Gary Caruana, along with several deputies, went to stores and randomly handed out $100 to community members.
Caruana said that he enjoys seeing people’s reactions and getting to know them.
“We’re enjoying giving back,” Caruana said. “I’m honored that the person who donated to us is thinking about the community and the greater good of the community, and using us as an instrument to go out and spread some joy to people during the holiday season.”
The gift is making a difference in some people’s lives. Leann only had $17 to her name, but after receiving an unexpected surprise from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, she now has enough money to buy her grandkids Christmas gifts.
“Thank you! Merry Christmas,” she said. “Merry Christmas. Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus.”
“We’re getting the joy of being able to talk to the community and see the joy on their face, and the disbelief that we gave them $100 dollars,” said Caruana. “It’s fun for us to do it too.”
Marietta Lehrmann was one of the community members that randomly received the gift.
“I have family coming in for Christmas, so we needed to get groceries for that, and got a big surprise when we got here,” Lehrmann said. “The Sheriff walked up and gave us $100 to help pay for our groceries.”
“A 100 dollar bill, it’s amazing,” added Pecatonica resident Meredith McClure.
For many of these residents, the random act of kindness goes a long way during the holiday season.
“It’s been a rough year. I go to therapy because I rolled my car twice last year, so I had to buy another car, and it’s good that someone was there to give us a little extra. That was really awesome,” Lehrmann said. “It’s great knowing that there’s still a lot of great people in this world.”