COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for parents with children in the hospital, and central Ohio first responders are teaming up to help keep parents close to those sick children this holiday season.

On Sunday, the Columbus Division of Police hosted a basketball tournament with members from several other central Ohio first response agencies, raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.

For the first time since the pandemic, police said they wanted to make the tournament a community event, offering live music, bounce houses, food trucks, and a children’s basketball giveaway.

Since 1982, the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus has provided 1 million nights of rest for families of seriously ill, hospitalized children, and while they were opponents on the court Sunday, organizers said they’re all teammates in the mission to support families during the holidays.

“The financial burden that that can have, and the stress that can have on a family…just to be able to bring some light, some joy to the holidays is very important to us,” said Columbus police officer Wil James.

“We like the idea that we’re keeping those families next to those kids while they’re in the hospital, and then we get to see them when they’re on their way home after being in such a traumatic event,” said Rick Shepherd with Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In addition to officers from Columbus police, personnel from the Columbus Division of Fire, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and Madison County Fire all took part in the event.

For more on Ronald McDonald House Charities, click here.