Chil­dren ‘Shop with a Hero’

Record Observer - - COMMUNITY -

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.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Cpl. Chad Hart­metz of the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice with his shop­ping part­ner at the Kent Is­land Kmart.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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.”

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