Mixed among the treats, new toys and a jovial Santa today, were plenty of big smiles and shiny badges.
Mount Dora Police Department worked with local schools to identify underprivileged children from the community to participate in the 2nd annual 'Shop With A Cop' event.
School-aged participants joined the police officers at Target in Mount Dora, where each child received $100 to shop with one of the city's police officers to provide guidance, while fostering a positive relationship between law enforcement, the children and their families. Target provided Mount Dora Police Department with a “Heroes and Helpers” grant for community outreach. The grant money, in conjunction with citizens’ donations, is used to help fund the 'Shop with a Cop' program. Lake Cares Food Pantry has also joined the program by providing a food package to the attending children’s families.
Sometimes elves trade in their red and green uniforms to dress in blue and white. That was the case yesterday when Mount Dora Police Department treated a family from northeast Mount Dora with a special Christmas.
Nehemiah Williams, age 2, suffers from a rare liver disease and is on the transplant list awaiting a match. Nehemiah's older sister, Kearani, is 5.
Representatives of the police department met with the child’s mother who had to stop working due to Nehemiah’s medical condition. As the agency got to know her, they learned she is a single mother facing a tough road ahead with Nehemiah’s pending transplant.
MDPD contacted friends, businesses, and officers to relay the information. Within days, the department gathered gift donations from local businesses, including Target, Wal-Mart, Lake Cares Food Pantry, the Women’s Club of Country Club, Florida DCF, Mount Dora Heroes Foundation and police officers.
“It’s a great honor to be part of a community that comes together for a family in need,” says John O’Grady, Chief of Police. “The Williams family will truly have a Christmas to remember and we are proud to be involved.”
MDPD showered the Williams family with a Christmas celebration yesterday at the police station. Santa Claus joined in for the surprise celebration.
By all accounts, the biggest hit of the afternoon was the gift of a toy police cruiser and Nehemiah being shown a real cruiser with flashing lights.
After the party, it is reported that Santa was so impressed he placed a call to the North Pole to request more blue and white elves.