HOPE, AR – Everyone was full of cheer Saturday during the first Operation Christmas/Shop With A Deputy event at Walmart. The event was initiated by the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office but numerous businesses, churches, individuals and other first response agencies joined in to help make a brighter Christmas for many Hempstead County child.
Reverend Jesse Henry delivered a short devotional about the true meaning of Christmas before the children started their $125 shopping spree.
Members of the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office, Hope Police Department, Arkansas State Police and Pafford EMS were paired off with the kids and went off on their shopping sprees. Once the kids had picked out the gifts they wanted they met back in the Walmart Garden Center where they could get their picture taken with Santa and their escort. Walmart employees were on hand to hand-wrap gifts and provide refreshments.
According to Sheriff James Singleton, about 75 kids from around the county received gifts at the event Saturday. Several children demonstrated the Christmas Spirit, forgoing spending all the money available to them on themselves and instead using it to buy gifts for others. Sheriff Singleton shared one touching encounter he had with a girl who gave him a baby-doll she bought and asked him to give it to someone who needed it more.
The Sheriff expressed his gratitude to everyone who made this year’s event possible and looks forward to continuing the Christmas outreach every year.