Shop with a Kid helps family who lost everything in a house fire

HATTIESBURG, Miss.(WHLT) – This year more then 60 children received early Christmas gifts thanks to Shop with a Kid.

Each year the Hattiesburg Police & Fire Association gathers a group of children to buy Christmas presents for.

Chad Young, president of the association, says he first started this program with just cops, and then it expanded to multiple agencies and more kids.

He said as civil servants, having events like this mean more than just buying toys.

“You see kids smiling and you see parents crying, and a lot of people don’t realize there are some unfortunate people out in this world and community, and what us as firemen and policemen try to do, is we try to reach out to each kid and parent , and we start with the kids in the school. We have counselors that come to us and they tell us, hey we have some kids that are needy, can you help them? And of course us as civil servants that’s what we do.”

For one Pine Belt family, this year’s event meant everything to them. Back in November Sheila Howard’s granddaughter, Charlie Williams, saved the family from a fire in their home. The fire burned the whole house down, and she didn’t know how she would get Christmas gifts for her grandchildren.

However, Sheila said a Hattiesburg Police Officer reached out to her and told her to come to the event at Walmart. She said she wasn’t sure what the event was, but she’s more than grateful to receive help.

“I just can’t believe everybody’s willing to help. It’s been so many people, since we’ve been going through this.”

Charlie Williams, only 10-years-old, is being called a hero by her family and officers. She says she doesn’t consider herself much of a hero, she’s just glad she has her family.

As Charlie went shopping with Hattiesburg Police Officer La’Shaunda Buckhalter, she was able to find her new favorite toy, a teddy bear named Violet.

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