LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) In Lynchburg, some police officers took a break from patrolling today and instead got into the Christmas spirit. The LPD teamed up with several community organizations and went shopping at the Wards Road Walmart for those in need.
“The person we're shopping for is a 9 year-old boy,” said Officer John Pavia holding a wish-list in his hand. “He likes legos and helmets.”
Members of LPD’s Community Action Team put their shopping skills to the test Monday afternoon.
“We don't get to do it a lot so it's nice to come and do it for some of the people downtown,” said Pavia.
It's all part of a Christmas giveaway for kids in the community who might need a little help this season. Local business owner, Nathan Castello donated $2,000 to make it happen
“We just want to make sure we give back as much as we can and maybe make their life a little better because of it,” said Castello, Agent Owner at Nathan Castello State Farm in Lynchburg.
One Community One Voice and Liberty University's SCOPE team joined officers in the shopping fun. Walmart said they also contributed financially.
“It's rewarding to let them know that people care for them in their community. And I think every kid deserves something under their tree,” said Pastor James Camm, founder of One Community, One Voice.
Going through the aisles, they were picky about what got added to the cart.
"We thought this would be good because the kids can wear it to church,” said Officer Pavia holding up a gray flannel shirt. “All these kids and their parents go to some of the local churches downtown."
But it's not just about the presents. As they were checking out, they were hoping this would have a ripple effect-
“I feel like the gift is great, but it puts the police officer in a different light. It's that positive- again, trying to build that positive image, positive relationships with the community,” said Sgt. Jeff Rater with the Community Action Team.
Taking the approach of one kid, one present, at a time.
“To show that we're here to help them. Not just to be there when they call 9-1-1…that we can help them in other ways,” said Officer Pavia.
Next step is wrapping. The organizations will give the presents they bought to the 18 children at a dinner in mid-December.