The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office is asking the community to help make Christmas a reality for needy children in the county.
PCSO officials say that while donations have been down for the department’s annual Cops for Kids Christmas shopping event, now in its 15th year, the number of children who need help has increased. The children who take part in the program typically range in age from 9 to 12, with many on free or reduced breakfast and lunch at their schools.
“Most of the kids who come, they’re not going to have any Christmas if it wasn’t for us,” Sheriff Gary Gulledge told Dallas-Hiram Patch during April’s Cops for Kids golf tournament. The tournament is one of the two biggest fundraisers held for the program—the other is a donation drive aimed at businesses in Dallas and Hiram.
According to Sgt. Brandon Gurley of the sheriff’s department, 250 children participated in the program last year. Each child was paired with a local law enforcement officer, and together they shopped for up to $150 in gifts for the child. More than $39,000 was spent last year to help provide Christmas to just some of Paulding County’s needy children. More than 200 law enforcement and civilian participants volunteered their time to take the kids shopping.
“The thing we like best about it is, it gives the kids a chance to be around the cops when there’s nothing wrong, there are no problems going on, it’s all a happy day for them, and they see that we’re not the bad guys,” Gulledge said. “They get to spend some quality time with us, and find out we’re normal people and we’re good folks, most of us are fathers or mothers, and we enjoy being around the kids.”
The Cops for Kids shopping event is slated for mid-December, with the Walmart on Dallas Highway (3615 Marietta Highway, Dallas) set to host it for the sixth consecutive year.
Monetary donations to help fund the program—as well as gift card to help offset the cost of groceries for participating families—may be dropped off at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office or mailed it to:
Paulding County Sheriff’s Office
Attn: Lt. Dee Morris
247 Industrial Way N.
Dallas, GA 30132