CUMMING, Ga. — Giving Christmas to her son was going to be a struggle for Christy Lingerfelt, an unemployed single mother from Cumming.
But thanks to generous donations from the community to Fraternal Order of Police Sgt. David Paul Land Memorial Lodge No. 82, about 103 children will have Christmas this year. Last year, there were about 70 children who received gifts.
On Dec. 12, the Cops and Kids shopping event took over Walmart on Market Place Boulevard in Cumming as 46 law enforcement personnel from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, including four from the Cumming Police Department, lent a shopping hand to the children.
Lingerfelt’s son, Alex Grantham, 8, filled his shopping cart with Hot Wheels toy cars, Legos and video games. Along to help Grantham shop was Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Kingsley.
“It’s the first year that I’ve been unemployed and it was breaking my heart that I couldn’t give him a Christmas this year,” Lingerfelt said. “This helps tremendously.”
The FOP Lodge members came through again this year, to put smiles on the children’s faces and relief on the parent’s.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Shelton, FOP Lodge 82 president, said the program started in 1995.
“We don’t want any children to go without Christmas,” Shelton said. “This also helps us build a relationship. A lot of these children come from a broken home where mom and dad are not around.”
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Silveus, vice president of FOP Lodge 82, said the donations made by the Forsyth County community to the lodge were all used locally. Each child was given a $125 gift card to use however they wanted. The children’s names were provided by the Forsyth County School System, school resource officers and social workers.
Children at Abba House, a local addiction recovery ministry for women, received $75 gift cards to be used for clothing.
“We made sure that the money that was donated locally was spent locally,” Silveus said. “This is a time they see us in a positive light; it’s a little something special we are involved with.”
For more information, visit www.dplandlodge82.org.