Shop with a Hero


First responders and students pose with gifts purchased for 10 children.

First responders and students pose with gifts purchased for 10 children.

The spirit of Christmas captivates the hearts of all ages, sparking ideas and opportunities to help neighbors and those in need. Recently, students from Blount County Schools submitted letters explaining why they would like to “Shop with a Hero.”

This is an annual event where Blount County first responders team up with students to shop for families in need in the Blount County area. This was their third event and five lucky students met first responders at Walmart for a night of shopping.

Kaitlyn Knowles and Nathan Russell from Susan Moore and Morgan Wiley, Kentleigh Duckett, and Lauren Patterson from Locust Fork joined members of local police and fire departments as well as Blount EMS and Blount 911.

Each group was given a slip of paper with ages, sizes, and requests and the shopping spree began. This year they were able to shop for 10 children. By the end of the evening, they had several shopping carts filled with needed items plus several fun items.

Santa, the Grinch, and first responders delivered gifts Monday night on Oneonta’s festive firetruck.

Santa, the Grinch, and first responders delivered gifts Monday night on Oneonta’s festive firetruck.

This was a night these students will not soon forget. Not only did they get to meet the first responders who are heroes to them, they also became a hero to 10 kids. They put others first and did something special for those in need.

When asked why they wanted to help, Knowles said, “I believe that if we stick together and help each other out we can accomplish big things.” Russell added, “Shopping for other people helped me feel like I was making a difference in someone’s life.”

“I wanted to help out,” Wiley chimed in. And Duckett said, “I wanted to help everybody who needed help. Thank you (first responders) for all you do and thank you for doing a great job.” Patterson closed with, “I love helping people and this is a great cause.”

Blount County 911’s Jana Short, who coordinates Shop with a Hero, said, “We are excited that this project has grown each year. We can’t wait to bless more families in Blount County with an unforgettable Christmas.

“Every donation has helped us put smiles on Blount County children’s faces. First responders and students are able to shop for those in need and the presents are delivered just before Christmas by a special jolly helper that makes it even more special.”