Gulf County Sheriff Mike Harrisson, right, and Sheriff's Office employee Pache Bastion pose with some of the donated baskets. [ Pat Hardman | Contributed ]
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Sheriff’s office distributes more than 250 Easter baskets in annual drive

The Gulf County Sheriff’s Office got to play Easter Bunny last week, delivering 251 Easter baskets to children around the county as part of their annual Easter basket drive.

Sheriff Mike Harrison said that additional money brought in through fundraising efforts was donated to food distribution organizations in both Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka.

“There were 200 baskets that were bought from an organization employing individuals with disabilities, who put the baskets together,” said Pache Baston, the Sheriff’s Office employee who typically leads drive preparations. “And then 51 baskets were donated by the community, and we’ve had several stuffed animals come in as well.”

Like they did last year, the sheriff’s office also provided monetary donations to food pantry services in both Wewahitchka and Port St. Joe.

“As well as the baskets, it’s been good to give back a little something else,” said Sheriff Mike Harrisson. “We want to make sure these families are able to eat on Easter as well.”

“We were very successful this year. We got started fundraising early, and that’s very important, because the more we raise, the more we are able to give back to the community.”

Baskets were delivered to children at North Florida Child Development in Wewahitchka and Port St. Joe as well as the pre-K programs at Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka elementary schools.

According to the drive’s organizers, donations for the event were received from The Murphy Family Foundation, The Coastal Communities Association, Duren’s Piggly Wiggly, many local folks and the Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

“Days like today are the good ones,” Harrison said. “When we can go around spreading cheer, it makes it all worthwhile. Plus, it’s good to get out into the community and have them know us for something good, and not just for doing our jobs in law enforcement.”