Public Safety departments in and around the Loganville respond to emergencies every day, but none that are as close to their hearts as Saturday’s Shop with a Hero at Loganville Walmart.
Shop with a Hero is organized by the Church at the Grove in conjunction with local public safety departments and other sponsors, including Walmart. The event is organized for children from families who are financially in need at this time, but also for children who have not had a positive experience with members of public safety in the past. Funds are received by donations and funds raised during the year through such things as Boot Drives by the Loganville Fire Department. This is the sixth year of Shop with a Hero in Loganville and, according to Russ Butcher, pastor from GATG, there were about 140 children this year, which was about 40 more than they had at the event last year.
The children were assigned to a their own special hero and given the opportunity to shop with a $100 gift certificate from Walmart. They were able to shop for themselves as well as member of their family. The gifts were then wrapped by voluteers and the children left with their special stack of gifts to leave under the Christmas tree. The families and children were treated to hot cocoa and Christmas goodies while they waited for their chance to shop. Volunteers were also on hand for face painting, the reading of Christmas stories and helping the children make Christmas crafts. Police and fire officials from Loganville, Monroe, Walton and other surrounding counties participated as did some members of the military.
It was difficult to see who had the biggest smiles, the children or the members of local public safety departments.