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Deputies play Santa to kids

Members of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office descended on the Fayetteville Walmart Saturday afternoon ... but not to combat criminal mischief.

Quite the opposite: they were helping local underprivileged families shop for necessities such as clothes and shoes, and of course a few toys.

It’s the Christmas season, after all, and donors to the annual “Shop with a Sheriff” program gave more than $18,000 to help 13 families with a total of 36 children.

The participating children are specially selected from referrals which come directly from Fayette County school counselors, said Sheriff’s Investigator Josh Shelton, who organizes the event each year.

In many cases, the children are coming to school wearing clothes that are second-hand, sometimes with holes in them, but they are proud of what they have, Shelton said.

“Those kids are just great to take shopping,” Shelton said.

One of the families involves a father who has had multiple heart surgeries and faces significant medical challenges. Another of the families consisted of three children who were orphaned and are living with relatives in separate residences.

Some of the kids came away with new bikes, others with Lego sets and some of the latest toys. They all left with smiles on their faces and gratefulness in their hearts.

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