ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO - Christmas came early for 15 St. Charles County families thanks to their local law enforcement agencies. Tuesday night (Dec. 11), officers from the St. Charles County Police Department and deputies from the St. Charles County Sheriff's Office took these families on a shopping spree at the Kohl's store in O'Fallon.
"We love taking care of our kids. We love taking care of our families," said Sgt. Donald Van with the sheriff's office. "It's what we do."
For 16 years, members of the St. Charles County Police Officer and Deputy Sheriff Association have taken families who could use some extra support around the holidays shopping so the growing kids can stock up on clothes for the new year. This year 35 children referred by the St. Joachim and Ann Care Center benefited from the program.
"Each child gets a $100 to spend just on themselves, not for their siblings, not for their parents, just them.," said Lt. Tim MacMann with the police department.
An officer escorted Susan Stotts and her two kids through the store. Stotts said they, especially her 7-year-old son, have been looking forward to this all day.
"I said seven o'clock so he thought 7 a.m.," said Stotts. "So, he woke up super excited this morning thinking it was 7 a.m., so he was kind of sad he had to wait 12 more hours."
Stotts said it was worth the wait to have one less worry this holiday season.
"Being as a single mom, it's kind of hard to get Christmas presents for them so this kind of is a big deal," she said.
The association raises money for this program during a summer golf tournament. To date, these officers and deputies have taken more than 600 kids holiday shopping.
"We're all here in uniform, and we hope they see us as the good guys," said Sgt. Van.
Once the families checked out, they got to meet Santa Claus who gave them wrapped gifts to take home and open on Christmas morning.