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‘Walk With Us Christmas Spectacular’ unites community activists and law enforcement for day of service

Eight trucks are heading to four quadrants of Genesee County with 200 boxes to assist those in need
Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 10:01 PM EST
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - For some, finding something to cheer about this holiday season might seem impossible.

One Mid-Michigan sheriff, however, is doing something to change change that.

It’s called the “Walk with Us Christmas Spectacular,’ but there’s a deeper meaning to this Christmas story.

Immediately following the death of George Floyd at the end of May, anger and frustration emerged nationwide as protestors took to the streets.

“You just pull up to a Flint Township Police Department with riot gear and a lot of different emotions, tensions are high, George Floyd, all that stuff,” Black Lives Matter Flint Vice President Johnie Franklin III said.

But in Mid-Michigan, a moment of peace between community activists like Franklin and law enforcement. Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson asked protestors, “What do you need?”

They responded with, “Walk with us,” and that’s what they did.

“This community, Flint, Genesee County, had been seen that day as a beacon of light, and we have made sure that that has not dimmed one bit,” Swanson said.

Now, Swanson is taking that mantra back to the streets, hoping to bring more change to families who need it most this holiday season, Either financially or emotionally from dealing with a loss due to COVID-19.

“We have chosen the second Saturday of December in this community to be an example of maybe others around the world,” Swanson said.

Eight trucks heading to four quadrants of the county with 200 boxes. Each filled with donated items like toys, shirts, candy, toilet paper, and blankets. The idea is for recipients to take what they need and share what they don’t with their neighbors.

“When we can’t rely on government officials or the city to help out the people from the communities, those are the times the people from the community need to help one another, need to really rely on and count on their neighbors,” Ken Nwadike said,

Nwadike is better as the “Free Hugs Guy,” founder of the Free Hugs Project, and he flew in from San Diego, California.

He is among others joining in to make this walk even more spectacular, meeting people in the community who are going though a hard time and asking the same question: what do you need? Whether it’s help with rent, a Christmas tree, or gas to get to work, he is ready to provide financial relief.

“One of the joys of what we all get to do is tomorrow is basically play a little bit of Santa Clause,” Adam Mizel said. Mizel is a philanthropist from Los Angeles, California.

Still, the ‘Christmas Walk Spectacular’ doesn’t stop there.

If you want to donate to families in need, click here for more information about the Free Hugs Project.

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