By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Santa Claus came a little early for some Knox County children Tuesday.
That’s because ol’ St. Nick got a little help from the Barbourville Police Department’s annual Shop With A Cop program.
“This is the second year we’ve done this,” Barbourville Police Chief Mike Broughton said. “We expect it to grow, and hope it will continue to grow.”
This year 20 children were treated to lunch at 2 Amigos Mexican Restaurant, and then were taken on a shopping spree at Walmart.
“This is a way for us to give back to the community,” he said. “And we love to see the smiles on these kids’ faces.
“Especially since what happened and all that occurred last week,” Broughton said, referring to Friday’s elementary school mass killing in Newtown, Conn.
The event hosted children from all across Knox County, Broughton said.
Members of the Barbourville Fire Department were also pushing around shopping carts with the children. Broughton said there were many volunteers who came to help. “The volunteers make it happen,” he said.
All monies for this project come from community donations, and Broughton said each child received $120 to spend. “If they need a coat, or clothes or shoes, they get that first,” he said. “And with what’s left we let the children go and pick out what they want.”
He said many of the children choose items to give to other family members. “This is very humbling, very humbling, for everyone who’s involved,” Broughton said.