MASON, W.Va. — Months of fundraising efforts paid off on Thursday morning as was evident in the smiles on faces of 16 kids as they spent the morning with local law enforcement shopping for Christmas.
This is the fourth year the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office has taken part in a “Shop with a Cop” program, but this year was by far the biggest for the group.
Fundraising through “No Shave November,” “Ugly Christmas Sweater Basket Games,” and other donations made it possible for the sheriff’s office to take 16 kids out to breakfast at Bob Evans where they were visited by Santa and then to shop.
Following breakfast, deputies, sheriff’s office employees, Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey, Children Services employees and others connected to the sheriff’s office loaded into sheriff’s cruisers and went to Wal-Mart to shop for gifts and clothing items for the kids.
Deputy Joe Barnhart explained to his fellow officers that each of the children were required to get a pair of shoes as part of their purchases so that they had shoes to wear to school. Beyond that, the kids were allowed to pick out items for themselves, as well as a gift for a parent if they desired.
“Santa sent us to help them,” Barnhart explained to the deputies.
From picking out the perfect pair of shoes to hats, scarves and other clothing items, toys, make up and perfumes, deputies and kids made their way around the store selecting numerous items for the kids to take home with them following the shopping trip.
Previous years have included a handful of children, with the additional fundraising efforts allowing for the number to increase. The amount each child was allowed to spend was also increased, with $250 allowed for each child this year.
The funds for the program come through the “Loyalty is Forever” account at both Farmers Bank locations in Pomeroy. Farmers Bank representatives Lori Miller and Tina Richards were on hand to assist with the day’s activities as well. The families are typically chosen based on recommendations through Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services.