The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department is currently accepting applications for its annual Shop with a Deputy program.
Shop with a Deputy is an annual effort sponsored by the sheriff’s department that allows deputies to take children shopping for Christmas.
“It gives us the opportunity to interact with our community’s children and make them feel special,” said Detective Jonathan Friend, who is the treasurer for the Monongalia County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
The program is open to any low-income resident of Monongalia County. Those interested in participating must fill out an application and provide proof of residency, income, and enrollment in Medicaid or CHIP for each child who wants to participate.
According to Friend, the program accepts around 70 children ages 2 to 12 and typically spends around $150 on each child. The total amount budgeted by the department is about $10,500 and is funded by donations from citizens and companies in the county.
Acceptance is not guaranteed, but Friend said they “seldom turn someone away from taking part in the program.”
Last season, the format of the program was changed due to COVID-19, since many of the parents and guardians of the participating children are in the vulnerable category. The department has decided to conduct things the same way this year.
“We started asking for wish lists from the children and our deputies then shop for them,” Friend said. “We try our best to fulfill their lists but we are cornered by supply and demand.”
After shopping, the deputies will prepare the gifts and meet the children at a specified location to give them their presents. Friend said doing things this way allows them to minimize the number of people gathered at one time.
This year, deputies will shop at Granville Walmart throughout the first week of December and will meet with all the children from 10-11 a.m. Dec. 11, Friend said.
The sheriff’s department has coordinated with VFW Post 548 on Spruce Street to use its facility for storage, packaging, preparation and delivery.
“We want to thank all those who have donated to our program again this year,” Friend said. “We would not be able to have such a successful program if it were not for the generous donation from those individuals.”
Anyone interested in applying to the annual Shop with a Deputy program can pick up an application from the department at 116 Walnut St. in Morgantown. Completed applications can be dropped off or mailed to the department. The deadline for applications is Nov. 30 and must be received by 4 p.m.