FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — For 150 Forsyth County children and their families, shopping for gifts this holiday season will be less of a burden.
The 22nd annual Kids and Cops event, hosted by the Sgt. D. P. Land Forsyth Lodge #82 of the Fraternal Order of Police, hosted the children and their caretakers Dec. 12 at the Cumming Walmart. Each child received $100 and was paired up with a current or former officer from multiple agencies in the area. The children are chosen through the Forsyth County Schools system.
“It’s amazing because these kids are always buying something for someone else,” Sheriff Ron Freeman said. “We live in a community where there is so much affluence, and we don’t always see those folks in need.”
At the Sheriff’s Office, Freeman said they probably see those struggling more than anyone else. But as a community it’s not as visible.
The shopping money came from donations to the Fraternal Order of Police.
“If you can’t take a kid shopping, see their face light up and not feel good about that, you need to get a new hobby because something’s wrong with you,” Freeman said. “It’s a great chance for us to partner together to do something for the community.”
In the past, Freeman said he’s seen children buying socks and underwear.
“It’s not nearly as fun as it sounds,” he said. “But what you see is kids who realize they maybe have needs and they’re trying to help their parents. When you give a kid $100 and one of their first things they want to do is buy something for someone else, it speaks well to the parents. Maybe they have economic challenges, but this tells you somebody is raising their kids right.”
Freeman shopped with Catrina Gallegos and two of her daughters Shanya and Amberlee.
This is their second year participating in the event, with her other two daughters shopping with Freeman’s wife, Dana.
Last year, the girls bought nothing but items for other people. This year, Gallegos told them to buy something for themselves.
“I told them to get at least one thing they won’t have to go home and wrap,” she said. “They give a lot of giving at church throughout the year in their service. I told them to reward themselves this year because they’re great kids.”
The attitude to give back is something Gallegos said she’s seen in many children.
“Especially when you’re not given
a lot of things yourself, it’s easier to
give,” she said. “A lot of kids we see
are generous. When they don’t
get a lot, they like to give a lot. It’s selfless.”