Skip to main content

Cottonwood Heights Journal

Hawkins family puts focus back on service

Mar 26, 2019 03:24PM ● By Josh Wood

People can support the Hawkinses’ stuffed animal drive through April 12. (Kathie Hawkins, by permission)

By Joshua Wood | [email protected]

For people who would like to get more involved in the community, April 12 is a good place to start. 

The day was set aside a few years ago by proclamation to honor two of Cottonwood Heights’s dedicated volunteers. Jim and Kathie Hawkins now use the day as an opportunity to continue to serve the community — and to help others get involved, too.

In the days leading up to April 12, anyone in the community can donate stuffed animals the Hawkinses will give to the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. The toys will then be kept in the vehicles of police officers and other first responders in the community to give to children at the scenes of tragic or frightening events.

“We thought, let’s do something for the police,” Kathie Hawkins said. “There’s a lot of anger and angst toward police now, but they are always expected to help us when we need them.”

While Jim and Kathie Hawkins use the day proclaimed in their honor to do good in the community, they weren’t particularly happy about it at first. “At the time I was very embarrassed,” Kathie said. “We don’t do it to get attention.” But if the community wanted to recognize their efforts, they figured they would make the most of it. “We did a food drive the first year and collected over 1,000 meals for that April 12.”

The Hawkinses have each lived in Cottonwood Heights for over 40 years. “I grew up in a military family, and service is important,” Kathie said. “It’s human nature to us.” Kathie and Jim started out small, from baking cakes for neighbors on their birthdays or before leaving for missions to clothing drives for homeless shelters.

In addition to helping people in need, Kathie wants their service to inspire others to get involved as well. In a community like Cottonwood Heights, there is no shortage of people willing to lend a hand. Lani Roberts, who owns the 7-Eleven near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, uses money people put in a jar at the cash registers to donate hundreds of dollars of food and clothing to homeless teens in the county. She plans to use donations to purchase another large donation of food for homeless teens this summer.

Roberts donated over $700 in food for homeless youth in one drive alone in early 2018. “I thought that was really cool,” Roberts said. “Makes me tear up just thinking about it.”

The City of Cottonwood Heights provides volunteer opportunities on a more official capacity as well. Residents can volunteer on a number of committees intended to improve the community, from parks and open spaces to the arts council.

This time around, Kathie and Jim want to help those who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting the community they have called home for so long. They hope their stuffed animal drive will help officers and other first responders as they serve children during difficult times. The project is intended to help the children while showing them how police officers care for the community.

“They are out there for us,” Kathie said.

People interested in volunteering on a Cottonwood Heights committee can contact City Hall for more information. To help out in other ways, you can donate stuffed animals to the Hawkinses’ toy drive by April 12. You can also put some change in the jar at Roberts’ 7-Eleven. Or you can take some inspiration from your fellow do-gooders and start a project of your own.