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McFarland's 'Shop with a Cop' program helps kids buy presents for families

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 --- 4:45 p.m.

Around the holidays, the joy for children usually comes in taking the wrapping paper off. On Saturday, putting it on was special too.

"This is truly like Christmas for the kids," said McFarland police officer Michael Showers. "They get to give, they get to wrap, they get to see the expression on the parents' and brothers and sisters' faces."

Officer Showers is helping 9-year-old Michelle Herrmann. They're setting aside gifts for her family.

"I got some sweatshirts for my sister and a headband," Herrmann said. "And I got an iTunes gift card. And for my brother I got a sweatshirt and a basketball and for my mom I got her some pajama pants."

She's one of nine kids in the 11th annual McFarland 'Shop with a Cop' program.

"I love doing it, I'm very involved in the community," said Officer Jackie Statz. She works with counselors at three area schools to find kids based on their grades, behavior and how much their families need the help.

Walmart opens its doors, local businesses pay for the presents and cops donate their time.

"Today we have 10 officers that are here," Officer Statz said. "That's almost all of our department. We have 13 full-time officers. For us it's a great turnout."

"We get paired up with kids and it's just a fun time for everybody," Officer Showers said.

"He just helped me find the gifts," Herrmann said.

The event is like a reward for kids for being on Santa's nice list all year long. And soon, their families will get to share in the joy.

"If you can see all the kids, they are very happy that they get to have a decent and a good Christmas," Officer Statz said. "And for us, that makes us happy."

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