BURLINGTON, N.C. – Nearly 75 smiling, excited faces filled the toys section at the South Graham-Hopedale Rd Walmart in Burlington the Friday before Christmas.

The Burlington Police Department hosted their annual Cops Care event, where local children in need went on a $100 holiday shopping spree with police officers.

Dolls, collectible cards, Hatchimals, toy strollers, and board games were among the most popular picks filling up shopping carts.

Patrol sergeant Richard Marsh, who's been part of the event all his 15 years with the department, says the event is a distinct way the officers can give back to the community.

“It gives me pleasure to see children receive things they typically would not have gotten,” Marsh said. “It's a way of giving back.”

The children are identified by teachers, counselors, and even patrol officers as kids and families who could really use a little holiday miracle.

In addition to the shopping spree for the kids, the child's family is given a care package filled with two weeks' worth of groceries with holiday staples like macaroni and cheese, green beans and cranberry sauce.

The Department also selected elderly citizens in need, providing them with a care package of their own and some company.

Marsh shares that officers are so devoted to this event, that many participate in Cops Care even on their day off.

“A lot of the officers here right now, it's actually their day off, so they came out here on their day off to do this because it means so much to the officers to give back,” Marsh shared.

The event is entirely funded by community donations and the officers' own goodwill.

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