ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Belmont County Sheriff's Department held its annual "Shop with a Cop" event Saturday morning at the St. Clairsville Walmart.
At 9 a.m., Sheriff Dave Lucas and 13 sheriff's deputies shopped with 19 area children. The sheriff's department has been doing this for more than 10 years.
"It's a good time of the year and Christmas is all about giving," said Lucas. "This was something at the sheriff's office wanted to do. We have been doing it over 10 years, and that is with the help of Walmart's donation and McDonald's for breakfast in the morning."
T-L Photo/ KAYLA VAN DYNE
Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Kernik shops with Tabitha Sockman and her two-year-old daughter Brooklyn Gooch.
Each child was paired up with a deputy and was allowed to spend up to $100 on items for Christmas. Many of the kids picked out not only toys, but also coats, shoes, items for school and presents for their siblings. The shopping trip was based on donations that the sheriff's department had received throughout the year.
"That is what Christmas is all about, giving and this our part of giving back to the community and helping out with some local kids," said Lucas.
Children were referred to the "Shop with the Cop" program through outside agencies in the communities, such as churches, children's services or by directly contacting the sheriff's department. The sheriff's office then created a list of children to participate in the program based on these referrals.
"This is the time of the year for giving and for helping people. If someone helps someone else or gives a little, it makes life a little bit easier," said Lucas. "This gets a very big response (from the kids). We are here for the kids, the elderly and for the people. This is just another way we want to relay to the kids that we are more than just someone who wants to arrest someone and put you into jail. We care about our community, we care about our kids, so this is why we do 'Shop with the Cop'."