Local law enforcement helps deserving kids with holiday shopping - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Local law enforcement helps deserving kids with holiday shopping

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

For about 20 years, deserving children from the area have been treated to a holiday shopping spree.  On Thursday, dozens of local law enforcement officials partnered with kids and hit the aisles of Walmart.    

Normally, police cars with lights and sirens blaring mean someone may be in danger, but this is something a little different.

"He's helping me shop," said 6-year-old Janavia Wiggins. 

Law enforcement officials from different agencies in our area came together, grabbed shopping carts, and helped local kids shop for Christmas gifts.  It was all part an annual program called "Cops, Kids and Christmas."

"These kids normally just see police on calls, and now, they get to interact with a police officer, and realize the police officer is their friend, and they can count on him.  They can go to him," said Captain J.D. Hawk with the Columbus Police Department.

About 50 deserving kids paired up with an officer, who was armed with about $100, for some shopping before the holidays.

"They light up and to see them be so self-less.  Most of them get everything for other people and not just themselves which is really neat," said Officer Rachel O'Brien.

"I'm buying for my sister, my brothers, and my two little baby brothers, and my mom," said 11-year-old Nicholas Good.

The men and women in blue say the program is more than a shopping spree for the kids, it is about building a bond with children who may one day need their help.

"We're out relating to people in the community, and it shows people in the community that we can do other things besides just being a police officer.  We're people too, and we don't mind donating our time in order to help someone," said Officer Jason Mann.

So, these kids walk away with a whole lot more than gifts, they form a friendship with local police.

"They're the good guys.  I love them," said 7-year-old Jehmiah Parker.

The Fraternal Order of Police says the program is only possible because of the donations they receive from the community.

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