Holiday shopping with local heroes
Published 10:43 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017
Children shop with area law enforcement, first responders
Receiving and giving Christmas gifts isn’t always possible for some.
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Local law enforcement and Walmart have partnered to ensure that despite financial difficulties, underprivileged youth and their families can receive presents.
The fourth annual Shop with a Cop took place Thursday night at Walmart. Forty children participated in the event in two sessions, during which local officers and first responders accompanied Albert Lea elementary school students who purchased Christmas gifts using a $100 gift card that was made possible by donations from Walmart and anonymous donors.
The grant for the program was written by the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office Deputy Darin Hable said once the grant was accepted, social workers at Freeborn County elementary schools were contacted, and underprivileged youth were informed they would take part in the event.
“Kids are excited for a week to two weeks before the event happens,” he said.
Fifteen to 20 licensed officers and deputies volunteered their time to participate.
Walmart donated wrapping paper, tape, boxes, refreshments and food for the event, and Santa Claus made an appearance as well.
“It’s a big event and a great event for the youth in our community,” Hable said.
“The event is everlasting with these kids. These kids — some of them are underprivileged, and for them to get a gift card to go out and about, spend some money, get a gift for Mom, Dad, brother, sister and themselves, it’s everlasting.
“And these kids, they remember it years down the road … It’s gratification on my part, and it is with all of us that we can do so much for the community.”