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‘Shop with a Deputy’ bringing a merry Christmas to kids in Belmont County

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office is making Christmas merry for area children through its Shop with a Deputy program.

Set for Saturday, Dec. 4, at the St. Clairsville Walmart store, the effort allows deputies to take children through the store’s shelves to let them pick out holiday gifts.

Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas thanked community organizations for the monetary donations that made this event possible. He added that the number of children the department is helping nearly doubled this year.

“There was a very good turnout from our community and citizens for donations. This is the most kids that we’ve ever taken out. We’re taking 68 kids shopping,” Lucas said. “We had 41 last year.”

He said this reflects well on the area.

“We are very well supported by our community,” Lucas said. “Our community and donators have really came forward. We’ve had members in our office that are involved in organizations themselves, so they got their organizations to donate. We’ve had personal people donate,” Lucas said. “Since we rely on donations, the more kids we do, that means our outreach, our community, has really gave a lot more.

“Not only is there a 50 percent increase in kids … we’re increasing our donation to the kids … the amount they can spend,” Lucas said.

Participating children are ages 1-12.

The generosity continues to be paid forward. Kitty Paboucek, fiscal officer with the sheriff’s department, said deputies have seen the spirit of Christmas among the children.

“It’s amazing, because some of the kids, they see another kid that can’t afford what they’re buying, and they’ll ask if they can give their money to that kid, or they’ll ask if they can buy for their siblings, or they’ll ask can they get a coat, do they have to buy a toy. It’s very humbling with these kids,” she said.

“It is,” Lucas said. “(We’ve seen times) where the kid buys everything for their mom or dad or siblings, brothers and sisters, so we make sure if they do they get something.”

“They can use it for whatever they’re wanting for Christmas. Whatever their Christmas wish is,” Paboucek said.

“It’s for them. That’s why we shop with them and make sure they get to pick out what they want to pick out,” Lucas said. “If it’s a gift for someone else, that’s their choice.”

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