33 kids go Christmas shopping with a cop in Bedford County

Published: Dec. 10, 2022 at 5:00 PM EST
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BEDFORD Co., Va. (WDBJ) - Multiple law enforcement agencies came together to spread some holiday cheer. Shop with a Cop was hosted Saturday, December 10th in Bedford County.

“They’re giving them something that I couldn’t give them,” said Michelle Tillman.

Raising three grandchildren on her own has been a challenge for Tillman. But today she received support at the Shop with A Cop event hosted by the Bedford Police Department. Alongside Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, the Department of Wildlife Resources, and the Bedford County Department of Social Services.

“Because of this event this program their Christmas is going to be a little brighter and a little bit more happier,” added Tillman.

Officers raised a record-breaking 11 thousand dollars, thanks to the community. They bought clothes and toys for 33 kids, the most they’ve ever helped.

“We want to make sure that everyone gets a good Christmas,” said Bedford Police Department Detective Lawhorne. “These kids definitely deserve it.”

Law enforcement partners with Bedford Family Services to pick families. They want kids to see the police as more than someone who shows up when things are bad.

“Go shopping with them and while we’re shopping, we’re able to ask them some questions about their daily life, and they’re able to ask us the same questions and ask us about our home life as well. So, It’s pretty cool,” explained Lawhorne.

Creating meaningful connections along the way.

“They come through the line, they’ve bonded and engaged with them all around the store and as they’re leaving they’re giving hugs they’re wanting pictures with the officers, they’re talking to them,” said Bedford Family Services Supervisor Denise Kennedy.

Tillman’s granddaughter Zamora became best friends with Virginia State Police officer Courtney.

“We talked all day and we had fun,” said Zamora. “So much fun,” added Courtney.

For Tillman, the event was a Christmas miracle.

“And it means a lot. And that just makes me feel like God is looking over my family and blessing me and my grandchildren,” explained Tillman.

Each child received 75 dollars worth of clothes and 75 dollars worth of toys. Parents received 50 dollars to buy their children Christmas presents.