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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Hackett Helping Hands Demonstrates Big Heart

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By Tammy Moore Teague 
Hackett-Helping-Hands-ChristmasHackett Helping Hands is in its fourth year of assisting families and bringing Christmas to local children. “The spirit of giving is very much alive in Hackett,” said Hackett Police Chief Darrell Spells. “Many of the people who donate each year are people I’ve developed friendships with in Hackett. They give generously to make sure families are helped during this time of year.”Hackett-Helping-Hands-Christmas
On Friday, December 14, Spells and Hackett officers Todd Johnson, Jim Fortson and Brian Hartsfield along with members of the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, Cody McConnell and his daughter Ella, Ariel Pinkston, Tara Spangler, Seth Trotter, Brent Smith and Maria Duarte as well as Zach Hall with the Fort Smith Police Department, delivered food boxes to local residents and special gift bags to children at ABC and Hackett Preschool. Then, on Saturday, Spells alongside six area law enforcement officers and Heather Wall, Hackett Elementary School counselor, assisted the children while they shopped at Walmart on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith.  “Some of these families Hackett-Helping-Hands-Christmasmay just be having a tough year financially or other circumstances,” added Spells. “For a couple of hours parents are able to just relax without worrying about bills and just focus on the kids having fun getting to purchase their favorite toy.” Each child was allowed to spend $140. “The families were very appreciative and thanked the officers repeatedly. It’s the highlight of our year to see the smiles on these kid’s faces.”
Spells recalled the 2017 shopping event when a young man they had accompanied returned with a dish towel for his mom. “It just shows how thoughtful these kids are,” he added.Hackett-Helping-Hands-Christmas
These donations were made possible by residents of Hackett who made donations at the Dollar General Store. Also by private, anonymous donors and individuals at businesses like Sam at Hugs and Biscuits. This year Hackett Helping Hands raised over $5,000. In addition to the 33 children who were able to shop with a cop, these contributions also provided 23 grocery deliveries and 64 toy bags for preschoolers. Hackett-Helping-Hands-Christmas
Other contributors included Calvary Assembly of God in Hackett and the school who partnered with Walmart for a grant. Stacy Moss, a manager at Walmart, was an integral part in securing that grant and was present at Saturday’s event. Additionally, the Greenwood Auto Club, Billy Garner, Hackett EAST and Hackett FBLA all assisted Hackett Helping Hands.Hackett-Helping-Hands-Christmas
It’s truly a labor of love to organize and host. Spells has a heart for his community and he connects well with the residents. His department make this a priority each year. “I can’t say enough about my guys and their servant mentality. Most work full time jobs in addition to the work they do for the Police Department. When you combine their efforts with the help we get from The Sebastian Hackett-Helping-Hands-ChristmasCounty Sheriffs Office, we’re able to help a lot of people. Many of the deputies volunteered to help on their own time in the pouring rain. Not one of them complained. It’s just a testament to their work ethic and compassion they have for helping people.”
Admittedly, Spells commented that he couldn’t do it without the help of Hackett Hackett-Helping-Hands-ChristmasCity employees Jennifer Costa and Kelly Lane. Also  assisting with the packing and boxing were current Mayor Leroy Stephens and Mayor-Elect Trini Harper.
Spells is hopeful that Hackett Helping Hands continues to thrive year after year and that it continues to grow. It’s a blessing to all who take part as well as the families and children, whose lives it touches.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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