On Dec. 8, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office treated 24 children to a $150 shopping spree, followed by a Christmas party at the sheriff’s office.
It was Lt. Lynn Campbell’s first time participating in the program.
As a member of the HCSO Narcotics Unit, Campbell too often meets children in the community in unpleasant circumstances.
He said it was just fun to be with the kids one-on-one and help give them a nice Christmas.
“For me, it was probably one of the most heartwarming things I’ve done,” Campbell said. “Especially being in the Narcotics Unit, we see a lot of kids in deplorable situations. To be able to help a child, share this fun activity with them and help give them a nice Christmas was very rewarding.”
The HCSO set a goal of 30 children during its Christmas with a Cop fundraiser this year.
The HCSO gets the children’s names through the Of One Accord ministry’s Christmas for the Children program, which had so many contributors this year that only 24 children’s names were available.
Each deputy was paired with a child to escort during the shopping spree.
The little girl paired with Campbell wasn’t used to having the ability to pick out anything she wanted from the store.
“When we’re shopping with my daughters, if they want something that costs $10, we’re like, ‘OK put it in the buggy,’ ” Campbell said. “But with this little girl, there was a bunch of stuff she wanted that would just be $5 or $10, and she would look at it and then put it back. She would say, ‘I can’t get that. It costs too much money.’ ”
Campbell added, “Every time she picked something up and we would say, ‘You can have that if you want it,’ you could just see a smile come on her face, and she was as happy as she could be.”
There were two parties with 12 children each. In groups of 12, they rode from the sheriff’s office in the department’s armored troop transport vehicle to Walmart, where they disembarked for their $150 shopping spree.
Upon their return to the HCSO, children were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Claus, enjoyed a chicken tender lunch donated by Hardee’s and then worked together on a craft and got their faces painted.
Deputy Corey Young escorted one little girl during both Walmart shopping sprees.
“We volunteer for this and come in on our days off, but I think the officers have as much fun as the children,” Young said. “My girls mostly got Barbie dolls, LOL Surprise dolls, and changes of clothes for the different type dolls. One got something like a remote control robot, and apparently it helps you with your schoolwork. I don’t know what it does. She was explaining it to me, but it somehow helps you with your schoolwork.”
One of his girls unselfishly bought a present for a sibling during her $150 spree.
“A toy one of them picked up was close to $80, which was more than half her available funds, but she eventually put that back and picked out three or four smaller things instead,” Young said. “Actually one of mine ended up buying something for one of her siblings, to give to her sibling at Christmas. Every year I’ve done this I’ve had a child that did that.”
He added, “I always ask them, ‘Do you know how much money you have to spend?’ and they say, no, and I tell them, ‘You’ve got $150’ — and their eyes got about the size of saucers. They went up and down every toy aisle at least two or three times each. I think they were just more excited about having the opportunity to get a lot of things if they spent it wisely.”