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Helping make Christmas special for kids

By Staff | Dec 18, 2011

A total of 14 local law enforcement officers were summoned to Walmart early Dec. 3. Their assignment was not to catch a shoplifter.

Instead, members of the Blue Earth, Winnebago and Wells police departments and the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office were given the task of ensuring a joyous Christmas for 10 area children.

The annual “Shop with a Cop” event allowed five kids from the United South Central School District and five from the Blue Earth Area School District to buy gifts with local law enforcement.

Erin Bromeland, a communications officer at the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department, organized the event for the second year in a row.

“We chose 10 children from Faribault County who may not have had the best Christmas ever,” Bromeland says. “It gives participants an opportunity to come shop with an officer and have a positive experience with them.”

Children perused the aisles in search of the perfect gift for each member of their family. Popular choices were Legos and Pokemon toys for children and clothing and jewelry for parents.

Every participant was given at least $40 to spend depending upon how many family members they were shopping for.

After picking out gifts for mom, dad and any brothers and sisters, participants could pick out a special gift for themselves.

Officers taking part in the event volunteered their Saturday morning to help families involved.

“Everyone came back to do it again this year,” Bromeland says. “Some of these guys just finished a night shift, but they still made it here this morning.”

Officers accompanied the children and even contributed to the cause out of their own pockets, donating additional money as desired – beyond what was given through a $1,000 grant provided by Walmart.

After the kids checked out at the register, Lisa Frommie and Sharon Determan of the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office lent their talents and helped wrap the treasures kids picked out.

With all of the bases covered, all the children have to do once the big day rolls around is open the presents they selected with their family.

“This is my favorite part of my job,” says Walmart manager Cathy Treanor as the 10 shoppers smiled from ear to ear as they carried their wrapped gifts out of the store.