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SHARPSBURG — Police are carrying on a longstanding tradition of buying Christmas gifts for children in need this holiday season.
“It’s a way to let people know that we’re part of their community,” said Sharpsburg Police Chief Michael Thomas, who has been the town’s top cop for a year after 17 years on the force in Youngsville.
Former Sharpsburg Police Chief Craig Bissette created the Shop with a Cop program more than a decade ago. Now known as Blue Christmas with blue representing local law enforcement, the program and tradition remain strong.
“We’re doing this for the kids who deserve a good Christmas just like everyone else,” Thomas said.
The town solicits donations from local businesses beginning in October each year. Approved parents are given a budget for their children who go with police to pick out toys, clothing and other gifts.
Like most years, the group went to Walmart in Rocky Mount.
The event, which was spread over two evenings this year, provides an opportunity for positive interaction between kids, parents and police, said Tracy Sullivan, the town’s interim administrator.
After the kids picked out what they wanted, the items were brought back to the police station and wrapped. Police will deliver the gifts to the families before Christmas. This will allow even more interaction with everyone involved, Sullivan said.
A dozen children participated in the event this year. The number of children who can participate is dependent on the amount of donations received for the program.
Parents in the Sharpsburg area interested in participating next year can stop by Town Hall or the police station and pick up an application.