Going above and beyond: Oakland police technician gathers donations and gifts them to families in need

MaryAnn Mitchell is an Oakland police service technician who works with the sex offender unit. 

But Friday, she was doing the job of Santa Claus for families who are struggling.
 
"I strongly believe we are our brother's keeper. I can't help all the brothers, but I can help some," Mitchell said.
 
Mitchell, with the help of others in the police department and Oakland community, gathered enough donations to buy Christmas dinner and gifts for seven families who could use some help.

Every year, Mitchell helps pull together donations to help more than 150 families over Thanksgiving.

This year, there were enough donations left over to help some during Christmas too.

"The community I work in I should care about their quality of life."

— MaryAnn Mitchell, Oakland police dept.

She drove to East Oakland to deliver the donations to a mother of three. The reaction was priceless. But the mother was not the only one who got emotional.
    
"She made me cry too. I was just glad I was able to do it," said Mitchell.

"It touched me a lot. I appreciate it. They didn't have to do it," said Makeba Mitchell, who's not related to MaryAnn. 
 
Makeba says these have been hard times.
 
She's raising her sister's three children, became disabled and had to stop working. She says she had no enthusiasm for the holidays.
 
"I didn't feel Christmas this year. But to see this makes me want to go out and get the Christmas stuff out of storage and decorate," said Makeba.
 
She says the act of kindness she just received taught her a lesson.
 
"This kind of stuff reminds you it is not about you or your feelings. It is about what you have to do at Christmas time to bring out the joy and the love," said Makeba.
     
"I'm glad I was able to help," said Mitchell.