WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nearly two dozen Wake County deputies and Sheriff Willie Rowe served as Santa's helpers Saturday at a Wake Forest Wal-Mart. The uniformed men and woman walked with children along the aisles of the store, as the kids chose gifts to warm hearts on a chilly day.
"Oh, yeah. Very, very grateful," said Nazhi Alston. "Appreciate it."
Each child received $100 to spend on gifts, but Sheriff Rowe said he and his deputies sometimes supplement the amount out of their own pockets if a potential gift costs a little more.
"It builds that relationship," he said. "I've been doing this 20-plus years and the magnificent thing about it is, you know, ten years later? Some teenager walks up to you and says thank you, and they tell you about this day, and what it meant to them. How it helped build a relationship, and they just want to say thank you, and they share with other people."
It was an especially nice day for Amonte Alston, who looked forward to making a special purchase.
"Boxing gloves, or something, because me and my friends, we box for fun outside of his house," said Alston.
Event organizers hope the feeling of fun and community contact remains between the youngsters and the officers long after the last gift for this year goes out of the store's door.