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Kiwanis, law enforcement sponsor Christmas shopping event for kids
by Liz Marino
lmarino@neighbornewspapers.com
December 12, 2012 11:21 AM | 1550 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Jim Wilson, president of the Douglas County Kiwanis Club; Theresa Byess, manager of the Douglasville Walmart; and Trent Wilson, of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, prepare for the 15th annual Kids Christmas Special Dec. 20.
From left, Jim Wilson, president of the Douglas County Kiwanis Club; Theresa Byess, manager of the Douglasville Walmart; and Trent Wilson, of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, prepare for the 15th annual Kids Christmas Special Dec. 20.
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Local law enforcement will be out in force Dec. 20 as they team up with the Kiwanis Club of Douglas to bring special holiday joy to some 100 underprivileged children in Douglas County.

In its 15th year, the Kiwanis Club has partnered with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and Douglasville Police Department to team a youngster with an officer to go on a Christmas shopping spree at the Douglasville Walmart.

According to Major Greg Graff, 20 to 25 “or more” officers from the Douglasville Police Department will be helping local children spend their Christmas cash.

Graff, who has been involved in the program for the last 10 years, finds it heartwarming to be involved with it.

“There are kids out there who wouldn’t have Christmas,” he said. “whose parents are having a hard time.”

“Just watching the kids’ faces makes it all worthwhile,” he added.

He believes it is a good way to introduce police officers to kids as people who are there to help them.

“They see us as not just police officers, but see us as friends.”

Children selected for the “Kids Christmas Special” are recommended by faculty at local elementary schools as having a need, according to Kiwanis President Jim Wilson.

“This year’s goal is to provide Christmas for up to 100 children,” said Wilson.

Sixty-eight children were selected for last year’s project and since the project began in 1981, approximately 1,000 underprivileged children have been served.

Some 100 students and teacher chaperones selected from Eastside, L.W. Burnett, Mt. Carmel, North Douglas and Dorsett Shoals elementary schools will travel by bus to Walmart for the annual shopping spree, Wilson explained.

Each child will be allowed $100 to spend for themselves at the store, Wilson said, where they will also have their photo taken with Santa.

After all that shopping, the kids should have worked up quite an appetite, so they will be treated to breakfast at the in-store McDonald’s restaurant.

Once called the “Kid’s Blue Light Christmas Special” due to its previous association with the now-closed Kmart, the Kiwanis supports the project as part of its mission to serve youth in the community, Wilson said.

The club supports numerous projects, such as Special Olympics, though fund raising efforts including the Sweetwater Triathalon and pancake breakfasts.

Information: To help sponsor a child for the Kids Christmas Special, contact Jim Wilson at (404) 376-0287 or email mrofc207@aol.com.

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