“Heroes And Helpers” Treat Local Kids To Christmas Shopping Spree
Christmas is right around the corner, and tonight, a few first responders took over the Bemidji Target to help local kids get ready for the season.
“We partner with the Bemidji Lion’s Club, the heroes of the community, police, fire, EMS, the Sheriff’s office, state patrol, and then we have the school pick some kids for us and they come and are provided a monetary amount and shop with a hero,” explains Bemidji Police Officer Tabitha Carrigan.
This was the 2nd annual “Heroes and Helpers” event. 25 kids from eight different schools were allowed to shop until they drop at the target. Officer Carrigan came up with the idea to help introduce kids to the police and to help families who may be of lower income.
Officer Carrigan says, “It’s taken a few years. Last year we partnered with the Lion’s Club who actually set up an account for us and for this event specifically so that any donations that come in sit in that account and are solely used for this event.”
Each kid is given $100. They can use that to buy gifts for their mom, dad, siblings and (of course) themselves.
“That’s a lot of money to a kid, and we don’t limit the things that they buy. They just have a hero that goes around and assist them to be an aide and calculator, but not to discourage them from purchasing anything. So, it’s nice just to see the things they pick and the smiles on their faces,” says Officer Carrigan.
At the end of the shopping spree, volunteers wrap the presents and the kids get a picture taken with Santa. The kids also walk away with more than a few presents, as they end they also get a new friend in the first responder.
“For next year I hope it runs as smooth as it did this year. We’re still working out some kinks. This is only the 2nd year so we’ll de-brief together with Target and find out what worked great for us and what we need to work on for next year and we’ll go from there,” says Officer Carrigan with a smile.
More than 30 heroes and 30 volunteers participated in the event tonight. The tax on all the gifts was covered by Target.