WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department put on their annual “Shop with A Cop” event this weekend, and although things looked a little different, the Christmas spirit was all the same.
The lobby of the Jefferson County Public Safety Building was full of gifts, waiting for children to come pick them up.
On a normal year, volunteers would walk around Walmart with the the kids to pick out Christmas gifts together.
This year, however, the department decided that couldn’t happen; but they weren’t going to cancel.
“There are so many kids out there that are in need, and without this program there is a good chance they wouldn’t even have Christmas,” said Officer Joe Elmer, of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
Elmer says preparations this year had to different to accommodate pandemic safety. So, parents set in a wish list, and volunteers went out and did all of the Christmas shopping.
Then, in shifts, families drove up to see officers, who were ready with bags of goodies to load in their cars.
Some kids even got out to take a picture with Santa and tell him their Christmas wish.
Family members say they’re thankful the event was still able to happen this year.
“(I’m) really grateful. The kids enjoy it and they got to see Santa Claus and with all of this going on it is a great thing they are doing,” said Kyle Monahan, a Shop with the Cop recipient.
Connie Passage, another recipient, says, “To see their eyes when they brought the big packages of gifts to them and they were saying “Oh, look how big!” the packages were. So yes, this is amazing.”
Officer Elmer says the event wouldn’t have been possible without all of his volunteers.
“They’re the heart and soul of this program, and they always go way above and I can’t say enough for them.”
Elmer says they were able to provide gifts for 56 kids.
He says, even with a mask on, seeing the looks on their faces is what makes it all worthwhile.