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Bicycles, drones, video games, clothes — the possibilities were endless for families scouring the aisles of Walmart during the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office’s annual Shop with a Cop program.
This year, 10 families had the opportunity to go on a shopping spree, which has been an ongoing program since 2013. This year’s Shop with a Cop was funded by an anonymous donor.
Each family had $350 to spend, which garnered a collective gasp of disbelief from the kids. Santa Claus was also on hand to greet families and help them shop. Families picked two officers who would be their designated shopping buddies and hit the floors to fill their carts.
Officers from the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, Greenwood City Police, Ninety Six Police Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, operators of Greenwood County 911, State Transport, and U.S. Homeland Security participated in the event.
“This could not take place without each of them and the lifelong bonds between the volunteers these children develop from the positive interaction,” said Capt. Scott Russ.
Russ also thanked the staff and managers at the Walmart on 508 Bypass 72 for hosting Shop with a Cop.
“Their staff provided food, book bags, and even talked Santa into stopping by. The staff there also assisted each child by gift wrapping their presents after purchase,” he said.
One parent expressed her appreciation for the sheriff’s office as her daughter shopped alongside Russ.
“This is a really great thing they’re doing, especially in this day and time where cops are seen as bad people. Cops are not bad people — this is just a great thing,” she said.
She added that the officers her daughter picked will be tired at the end of the shopping trip.
“She has so much energy,” she said.
Earlier in the week, the City of Greenwood also had a Shop with a Cop in which deputies with the sheriff’s office and other agencies helped make families’ Christmases merrier.
“It went really well. We were able to help out 10 families, so that was nice,” said Police Chief T.J. Chaudoin.
Public Information Officer Jonathan Link said the department enjoys when it can help families out.
“We really enjoy those moments when we can do something good for people. Kids are pretty much innocent of their circumstances and it’s good to give them something to smile about,” he said. “It’s always the thing you wish you could do more of, but we try to do the best we can and do the best with the resources we have.”