45 children have a brighter Christmas

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MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - Children, Sheriff's officers and toys oh my! Target in Decatur was taken over with law enforcement and children on Tuesday for the annual Shop with a Sheriff event.

Sergeant Scott Flannery with the Macon County Sheriff's Office says, "Sometimes children are scared of law enforcement. So what we decided to do is bring these families together and show them that most of us have children. I have children, and most of the sergeants here have children. We really want to give back to the children, and this is how we're going to do it."

Cheyrl Tate was at the event with her granddaughter who says she loves the event and that her granddaughter is able to participate. She says, "It's great for my granddaughter that you don't need to be afraid of the police, that they're good and they're there to help you and they're very friendly."

Flannery says he believes the event has happened for 13 years. This year 45 children were taken around Target and given $100 to spend. The money comes from the Macon County Sheriff's Benevolent #144's annual golf outing, trap shoot and other donations from the community. Flannery says many times the kids surprise him. He says, "My favorite part is that we have a lot of kids who think they're going to buy toys for themselves, but what we actually start to see is they start to buy for others like clothes and toys for their family members. They take this opportunity and give back as well."

During Wednesday's event, Flannery says a stranger came and donated a $1,000 gift card. He said it was amazing to see someone be so selfless during the holidays. He says the woman single-handedly funded ten children for next year's event.

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