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Waupaca County Sheriff's Office raises thousands of dollars for family victimized by scam

Money donated to family just before Christmas
Posted at 4:17 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 15:30:11-05

WAUPACA COUNTY (NBC 26) — A family who had fallen on hard times - including being victimized by a scam and losing their house in a fire - has now received thousands of dollars in donations thanks to the Waupaca County Sheriff's Office. The donations come just before Christmas.

Dubbed "Operation: Santa Needs Help," the drive for donations started with a post on the Waupaca County Sheriff Office's Facebook page on December 14. The Sheriff's Office wrote that a woman had fallen victim to a scam in which she sent money through the Internet for an Xbox that never arrived.

"The mother was not concerned about the money; she was most upset about not getting the present for her son. Her son has a mobile impairment, the gaming system helps to take his mind off from his health condition," the sheriff's office wrote.

The family’s financial situation did not allow them to purchase another system, the sheriff's office said. The sheriff's office also said the family had faced a tough year. The mother had been hospitalized with her own medical condition. Then, 19 days after she was released from the hospital, the family’s home burned down.

"I just, in this case, felt like this family needs some help," responding Deputy Paul Hanneman said. "They've had some really rough times and you know, that's part of our mission at the sheriff's department. the typical thing people say is protect and serve. What better way to serve your community than helping out in times of need?"

The sheriff's office then reached out to the public to ask for donations to help the family.

On Thursday, the sheriff's office announced that generous donations allowed them to buy more than an Xbox for the family.

"We received a total of $8,625.23 for this family," the sheriff's office stated in a news release. "This includes a Fleet Farm gift card, Festival Foods gift card, Shell gift cards, the purchase of the Xbox, clothes, shoes, Xbox games, controller and a heated blanket. We also had generous donations of lotions, socks, kitchen towels, a turkey and Tupperware for the family."

The sheriff's office presented the family with a check in the amount of $6,671.46. Deputies delivered the donations to the family on Thursday, just two days before Christmas. Deputy Hanneman was able to Facetime in to the celebration.

"The community and even surrounding communities as well, the outpouring of help was absolutely phenomenal. I could not believe how much the community stepped up when somebody was in need," Deputy Hanneman said.