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We truly have such an amazing community. This year's Shop with a Deputy saw so many anonymous donors contributing to our shoppers today at Walmart.

First, we have to thank all of the Walmart associates who raised money to help with this event. Our Shop with a Deputy relies primarily on donations from within the sheriff's office. Between the two groups we raised $1300, which was $100 per teenager shopping.

Second, we pick teenagers because often they are forgotten during the Christmas donation season and they can especially use a dose of Christmas spirit. Teenagers are resilient, but they can also put the burden of the world on their shoulders when crisis comes. Our teenagers are youth who have had tragedy in their lives, whether they've been displaced from their family, lost a home to an unforeseen circumstance or were victims of a crime.

Third, when we started shopping, we did not expect the outpouring of support for our kids. While walking in the store, a generous benefactor provided an extra $50 per teen shopping. With other donors handing deputies money in the store, each youth was able to spend between $160 to $175.

Fourth, a huge thank you to Pizza Hut who provided lunch for our deputies and teens afterwards, which allowed for further fellowship. Our hope is that we have started building relationships of trust and understanding with our teens. For our deputies it gives understanding of trauma-informed care, a principle that is extremely important when interacting with youth who have experienced a crisis in their lives.

Lastly, this is one of our favorite events every year! The giving spirit showed through with many of our teens picking out at least one item to give as a gift to a family member. Talk about Christmas spirit!

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