By Nancy Edwards
Dasaun, a 7-year-old, grinned from ear to ear as he walked alongside a shopping cart carrying one of his Christmas gifts: a Magna Imposter bike.
“It fits me just right,” he said.
Dasuan was one of about 40 underprivileged kids from Hamilton County who spent a few hours shopping at Target in Fishers on Dec. 8. They will enjoy the same kind of Christmas as their peers, thanks to the efforts of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Dept. and donations from the local community. Shop for Kids, the fourth annual event held by the Sheriff’s department, pairs a local child with an officer. Each child rides with the officer from the Sheriff’s office to Target; this year, kids were allowed to spend up to $125 each for toys and clothes.
“Each year, our officers look forward to this event,” Public Information Officer Vicky Dunbar said. “It is a chance to spend time with members of our community in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.”
Shop for Kids was created by Todd Green, a road deputy from the Sheriff’s department. Green had visited a home and noticed that a 5-year-old boy was playing with an old metal car that could only be moved by the boy’s own feet. That was his only toy.
“I thought about my daughter at home riding her Disney battery-operated Jeep,” Green said.
Children who participate in the event are typically either referred by the Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County or identified by the Sheriff’s department. Donations for the event come from local companies and people who have heard about Shop for Kids. This year, a generous grant was given by Target.
“Most parents tell us that without this day, their kids would get very little,” Green said. “The families are very appreciative. We know we have made a difference in peoples’ lives, which is the most important part of this event. This will be continued because there will always be kids out there that deserve to have a better Christmas than what might be.”