OREGON, OH (Toledo News Now) – Children in Oregon were treated to an early Christmas Wednesday.
Each year, Meijer hosts a "Shop with the Heroes" event. This year, 21 children were selected and each given a $100 gift card. They were then paired up with 21 local heroes - a police officer, firefighter, or park ranger – and taken on a shopping spree. Families in Oregon were submitted for the spree to the Oregon Police Department by the Oregon Christmas Basket program.
"We have parents that I actually talk to on the phone and they get choked up, they get emotional," said Sergeant Tony Castillo of the Oregon Police. "That makes you feel good. That tells you that you're doing the right thing."
The children weren't the only ones grateful for the opportunity. To some parents, it meant a lot.
"I haven't been able to work in four years," said Jodi Avery, a local parent. "I have a brain disorder called chiari, and I had surgery in November, so it's something really fun for the girls to do since we haven't been able to do much."
But the spirit of Christmas was not lost on the children. They were told they could only spend $25 out of the $100 on themselves, but they were okay with spending the money on gifts for their families.
The kids couldn't say enough about their shopping buddies, either.
"I think that they're very kind and can't believe that their doing this for us," said Shopper Gilberto Potter.