Kids got an early Christmas surprise from some Houston County deputies on Sunday.
It was Santa Claus instead of sirens, ‘ho ho ho’ instead of 911, and gift cards instead of handcuffs.
On Christmas Eve morning, 25 deputies from the Houston County Sheriff's Office turned into Santa’s elves while shopping with underprivileged kids.
Deputy Henry Lawrence was just one of the volunteers who took three siblings around the Warner Robins Toys R Us letting them pick out their dream presents.
He says it was a nice way to build positive relationships.
“Especially at this age, showing the kids that we're people. We like to joke, we like to have fun, of course you saw them making fun of me a lot, it sets a positive image further down the road,” Lawrence said.
The 35 kids were chosen with help from the schools and community groups.
They each got a $150 gift card thanks to year-long fundraising from the Sheriff’s Office.
Toys R Us also donated 10% in case any of the children went over their limit, bringing the total to $165.
12-year-old Ahmad Carter says he had a great time.
“Because we got to shop around, and pick whatever we want," Carter said outside the store. He shopped with his two sisters.
He said he appreciated Deputy Lawrence's help.
“They did a good job,” Carter said.
But he didn’t just shop for himself; he used some of his money to get a gift for his brother back home.
This is the third year the Sheriff’s Office has hosted Christmas shopping -- spending $5,250 on this year’s group of kids.
Deputy Kevin Taylor started the event and says it's about more than gifts under a tree.
“To show them that somebody actually cares about them that doesn't even know them, I think it influences them for the future,” Taylor said.
It’ll be a Christmas for the kids that'll be a bit brighter and merrier thanks to the men and women in blue.
If you want to help the Houston County Sheriff's Office start fundraising for next year, just call them and ask for Deputy Kevin Taylor.
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