Christmas magic, it seems, comes in many forms. Sometimes it rides in a sleigh in the middle of the night and other times, it drives right up in a limousine flanked by a fire truck and a police car.
That was the case Thursday when Southmayd police and fire department employees gathered at Walmart in Sherman to help a few Southmayd children pick out what they would like to see under their Christmas trees.
Southmayd Police Chief Chad McKee said 55 children were selected for the program this year. Each will get a ride from their home in a limo and get to spend $100 in the store. They also get their choice of shopping buddy from either the police department or fire department.
“Then we take them home, hand them a roll of wrapping paper and tell them to wrap their presents up and put them under the tree,” he said.
This is the fourth year for the program, which started off in that first year with just nine children. McKee said it assisted 31 children the second year. He said the special ride to the store is courtesy of limo owners who donate the cars for that time.
“Not many kids get to ride in a limo,” he said, adding the lights from the police cars and fire trucks mean the party begins before the children even reach the store.
One of the little ones who was heading in to shop said she hopes to grow up to be a police officer herself one day. When asked to talk about that ambition, the girl grew silent for a bit and then pointed to McKee and said, “I want to be like him.”
The beaming smile on McKee’s face was hard to miss, but so was the smile on the face of the child’s mother, Christine McFarland. She said her two daughters lost their father in June and that was when she found out that they would be taking part in Thursday’s event.
“It means a lot,” McFarland said. “It helps with Christmas presents with the children, without their father, this means everything,”
Andy Brazie, a member of Southmayd’s fire department, said the Shop with a Cop program is really just about getting back to the older way of doing things.
“It helps build a rapport within the community,” he said, adding it’s also “fun.”
That fun seemed to apply to those getting the presents as well as those providing them as the children picked out their gifts Thursday.