Wednesday, 06 December 2017 14:30

Christmas for Kids program prepares for shopping spree

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Santa talks to a child at last year's event. Santa talks to a child at last year's event.

Right now, 39 children will go on a Walmart shopping spree next week as part of the Roanoke Rapids Police Department’s Christmas for Kids program.

The children and participants will meet at 10 a.m. next Saturday, December 16, at Chick-fil-A on Premier Boulevard for breakfast before heading to Walmart.

“It’s by far the most successful year in the history of Christmas for Kids,” Deputy Chief Andy Jackson said.

Jackson and Chief Chuck Hasty credit the success of this year’s program to the donations local businesses and citizens in the community have made.

(There is still time to donate to the Christmas for Kids program. Next Wednesday is the deadline and donations will be accepted at the police department. A $250 donation helps a child with an ample supply of clothes, food and toys)

With other activities going on to help children across the area this holiday season, Hasty said he is impressed with the outpouring for each endeavor. “The community is supporting all of them.”

Officers and others who assist with the department’s annual program get to see the mark it leaves on the participants and recipients, Jackson said. “They have seen how special it is to make a kid’s day. It reminds us Christmas is about giving and not receiving.”

What Jackson has observed is the reaction of the recipients. “I have seen children that really have good family values wanting to share gifts with their siblings and parents.”

The donations by residents and businesses are emotional as well, Jackson said. “It warms your heart to realize the love within the community.”

The program has been in existence since the early 2000s, Jackson said.

It started with with about 10 children and has grown to nearly 40.

Jackson recalled one child who went straight for the basketballs. “You could see him doing imaginary basketball shots. You could see it made his day.”

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