Hiawatha PD hands out $100 bills to people in need - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hiawatha PD hands out $100 bills to people in need

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An area police department got to play Santa's elves after a donor wanted to do a Secret Santa program for people in need.

The generosity of that one donor, who wanted to remain anonymous, meant the people of Hiawatha were in for a holiday treat.

Hiawatha Police Chief Dennis Marks said the donor reached out to the department with $5,000 to be distributed by the hundreds. Marks said it was up to the officers to find people in need to give the bills to.

"They were looking for good people that really just needed a helping hand or a little boost, especially around the holidays," Marks said.

In total, 50 people were helped through the donation. One of those encounters came from a traffic stop, Marks said.

"It was a young, working person and their plates were expired. They have to decide do I buy plates for my car, or do I buy my kids a couple presents to put under the tree?" Marks said.

Behind the wheel was Danielle Jasa-Adams, a mother of three with a baby on the way.

"I said my plates are expired. I'm working on it. Christmas is coming up. My kids don't even have any gifts under the tree, but I'm working on it. He was just like, 'We're not pulling you over, just letting you know. Just a friendly reminder.' So, I just went about my way," Jasa-Adams said.

She didn't expect to see the officer again so soon but, the next day, he was knocking on her front door.

"I was just confused, but it turned out to be positive," she said.

Instead of a warning, the officer came with a $100 bill.

"Instantly, I was like, 'Are you serious? Is this a joke?' He's like, 'No.' I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I was, like, this is a cop. I shouldn't probably touch him. But I was, like, 'Can I give you a hug?' and he was, like, 'Of course.' It was really nice. I was surprised and super grateful," Jasa-Adams said.

She said the gift made it possible to put Christmas gifts under her tree.

"Not being there and experiencing it firsthand, it's still emotional because $100 makes a big difference to some people," Marks said.

The chief said they hope to pull off more surprises again this year, and that the department may look into ways to raise funds themselves to keep it going. The bills were handed out before and through the holidays into the first week of January.

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