Dougherty Co.’s ‘Shop With A Sheriff’ spreads Christmas joy

Dougherty Co.’s ‘Shop With A Sheriff’ spreads Christmas joy
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:15 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office made sure a couple of dozen children will have a merry Christmas.

The 22nd annual Shop with a Sheriff was held in Dougherty County on Monday. Twenty-five kids in need went on a shopping spree at Target to pick out presents for Christmas.

It’s that time of the year when people are gearing up for the holidays. Barbies, Legos, and electronics are every kid’s favorite. And kids in Dougherty County got to get exactly what’s on their Christmas List.

“In my cart was a Lego toy box. I wanted a lego toy box for two years straight and now I got it. And I loved it,” said Cameron Reid, a Dougherty County student.

The shopping spree for the kids started at Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse, a place that not many have been able to experience.

All 25 kids were escorted by the sheriff’s office and given a $125 budget to get anything of their choice.

“The excitement of just seeing the kids go out and purchase gifts, some of them for themselves and some for their families and friends. It’s really nice to watch them do that, and see the joy and excitement on their face,” Kevin Sproul, Dougherty County sheriff, said.

“Exciting, and I want to get the whole store,” said Paityn Williams, a Dougherty County Student.

Most of the items kids grabbed ranged from Legos, Nerf guns, earrings and even clothes. Some of the kids were most excited about getting something for their family members more than a gift for themselves.

Sproul said the $10,000 his office raised was worth it to make these kids’ dreams come true.

There are key people who make this happen each year. Part of their tradition is making sure those kids who may not even have a Christmas tree get to experience something for themselves and their families.

“They make the experience so much easier. As you can see, the employees are wrapping the gifts for them at no charge. These kids take these gifts home and on Christmas morning, they will actually have something to open up,” Sproul said.

Serenity Shorter, another Dougherty County student, said Monday was a great day.

“And I love this day very much. What I was mostly looking for was this purse that I saw on Saturday, and so I found it,” she said.

Sproul has seen the work first-hand of what it’s like to work with kids.

“I’ve been working in the sheriff’s office for over 40 years and I’ve done almost 18 years of working with kids in the school system and underprivileged youth. It gives them a little bit of hope, a little bit of encouragement, and that I am somebody that cares enough about me to do something for me,” said Sproul.

Most of the kids described this experience as the “best day ever” with Christmas just around the corner.