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'Cops and Kids' spreads cheer
Program aids those in need
Cops WEB 1
Sgt. Chris Shelton, right, helps Nola Harrison pick out a movie during the "Cops and Kids" program at Walmart in Cumming. - photo by Autumn Vetter

The toy aisle at Walmart in Cumming was dotted Wednesday night with a variety of Forsyth County law enforcement uniforms.

“This is a program that we do to help the underprivileged children from Forsyth County,” Sgt. Chris Shelton said of the “Cops and Kids” effort through the Forsyth County Fraternal Order of Police.

Shelton explained that the FOP collects names through the YMCA, Abba House and local school system.

“We put [the families] on our list and bring them here shopping,” he said

Michelle Duffy came with her son, daughter and three nephews.

"One of the counselors at the school just asked us if we wanted to be part of the program,” Duffy said. “I didn’t know how [the kids] were going to get any Christmas this year.”

Sixty-two children from 37 families were sponsored, with each child allowed to spend up to $125. Shelton said Walmart donated $1,000 to the program and gave 10 percent discount at the register.

According to Shelton, the yearlong fundraising program also provides a positive image of law enforcement.

“So often, [the kids] see us only in bad situations, whether we’re taking mom and dad out of the house and so on, so this is our chance to associate ourselves with the kids as good,” he said.

“We talk to them as we shop with them and tell them, ‘It’s OK to talk to us if they get in trouble. We’re not bad people.’”