Children ‘Shop with a Hero’
STEVENSVILLE — Multiple agencies joined together to bring holiday cheer and a day of shopping, gift wrapping and breakfast with Santa to kids in Queen Anne’s County. The annual “Shop with a Cop” was re-billed this year as “Shop with a Hero” because in addition to the many volunteer law enforcement officers, members of Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department and the Queen Anne’s State’s Attorney Office participated as well. The day started with each “hero” picking up the children and bringing them to the Kmart in Stevensville.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, 60 participating children were each given a $100 gift card, donated by the Kent Island Optimist Club, to buy whatever their hearts desired. Afterward, the Kent Island American Legion hosted breakfast with Santa. Judging by the smiles, everyone had a great time, said Lauren Moses, public information officer for the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office.
The yearly event is a joint effort by several allied agencies in conjunction with the Optimist Club, which provides funding and coordinates with Queen Anne’s County Public Schools to identify a need and obtain permission from parents for the children to participate, said Stephanie Jarrell, executive assistant at the sheriff’s office.
Jarrell undertakes coordinating volunteers from around the area and working out the logistics of partnering each volunteer with a child. This year’s heroes consisted of members of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, the State’s Attorney’s office, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Maryland State Police, Centreville Police, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office, the Chester town Police, Montgomery County Police, and the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department.
“This is something we look forward to doing every year with allied agencies in our county. Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces makes this event worthwhile,” said Sheriff Gary Hofmann.
‘Shop with a Hero’ provides a funfilled day for a number of children in need while creating positive relationships with law enforcement, said Jarrell, adding that this particular program is done on a completely volunteer basis.
Jarrell said it is an event that she looks forward to each year, because even after the event has passed the positive impact continues. The officers in her department go home and share their stories and encourage that same spirit of giving among their own children, they really want to make a connection with the youth in the county, she said.
First Sgt. Morris “Sonny” Jones, right, Santa, Mrs. Claus and an elf visit with some of the children who participated in this year’s “Shop with a Hero.”
Cpl. Chad Hartmetz of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office with his shopping partner at the Kent Island Kmart.
Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann said he looks forward to the “Shop with a Cop” event every year, “Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces makes this event worthwhile.”