Jesse Lewis smiled when he opened his front door Tuesday afternoon and saw Holden police Chief Chris Greeley standing on his front step, a box of non-perishable foods, toiletries and cash in his hands.

The surprise drop-off at Lewis’ home in Cedar Haven Mobile Home Park was part of the Holden Police Department’s annual 25 Days of Kindness — a campaign of random acts of kindness for residents leading up to Christmas.

Dec. 1 marked the start. Each day until Christmas, Holden police officers deliver surprises to some of the town’s less privileged residents, hoping to lift their spirits and help them out during the holiday season.

Clockwise from left: Holden police Chief Chris Greeley greets Jesse Lewis as he delivers a box of nonperishables, toiletries and money to him on Tuesday; A box of non-perishable foods, toiletries and cash; Holden police Chief Chris Greeley carries a box of nonperishable food and other items to his vehicle on Tuesday to deliver to a resident; Jesse Lewis waves good-bye to Chief Chris Greeley after he surprised him with a box of nonperishables and other items on Tuesday as a part of the department’s 25 Days of Kindness. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

The idea for the project came four years ago.

“We thought we would do acts of kindness that we wouldn’t necessarily normally do as police officers,” Greeley said.

In addition to helping people in need, it helps police officers make connections with members of the community.

“It’s a great thing,” Greeley said.

The Holden Police Department raises money and collects food and gift cards every year to support the effort.

“I thought with COVID-19 it would be rough this year,” Greeley said.

He was wrong. The department has collected $5,000 in donations so far. “I’m taking it all in and then sending it all out. It’s fun,” he said.

After Greeley arrived at his house to deliver the surprise, Lewis, 54, invited Greeley in for a few moments. Greeley stood in the dining room chatting as Lewis perused the items in the box.

“I’m going to love every minute of this,” Lewis said.

Call the Holden Police Department at 207-843-5442 or stop by to help out with 25 Days of Kindness.