BABE IN TOYLAND: Noah Bailey peeks out from amid the toys while his mother, Milaya Bailey, and little brother Jaysion shop for Christmas.
BABE IN TOYLAND: Noah Bailey peeks out from amid the toys while his mother, Milaya Bailey, and little brother Jaysion shop for Christmas.

Archived Story

PERSONAL SHOPPERS: Local children get Christmas shopping surprise

Published 9:03pm Monday, December 23, 2013


For many, Christmas is a bittersweet time of the year, especially for those with limited family and finances. But Friday, a few Washington children in need had their spirits lifted through the good works of the Washington Police Department and a shopping trip to Wal-Mart.

Ten children were selected by Beaufort County Department of Social Services to participate in “Shop with a Safety Officer.” Escorted by police officers and firefighters, the children were given a budget of $120 to spend as they would on toys, clothes, for some, even food.

“I’ve never known that stuff like this happened,” said Milaya Bailey, whose two children, Noah and Jaysion, were among the shoppers.

For mom Lacey Marsh, she believed DSS had contacted her to help others shop, and was very surprised to learn her son Chance would be one of the recipients.

“I thought it was awesome when I thought I would be shopping for other people. Now that I’ve learned it’s for my family as well, it just gives me a warm feeling inside,” Marsh said. “I had no idea. The smiles speak for themselves.”

The children were each paired up with their team of police/firefighter shoppers. But one young man — Daquaris McCullough — had a special escort in Lt. Doug Bissette, with Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS and NFL wide receiver, and Washington native, Terrance Copper.

Copper said that when WPD’s Outreach Coordinator Kimberly Grimes contacted him about the event, he was more than happy to participate and had high praise for WPD’s continuing efforts to take care of the people of Washington, beyond providing services — an aberration in his experience.

“The true meaning behind Christmas is not gifts. It’s Jesus. And one thing that Jesus was adamant about was giving. That’s exactly what they’re doing. … They give back to the community all the time,” Copper said. “I’m just excited and humbled to be a part of what they have going on.”

For Wal-Mart store manager Jason Perry, Shop with a Safety Officer provided Wal-Mart an opportunity to show its investment in the community.

“Wal-Mart is part of this community. I’m a big believer in this. And stuff like this — it’s simple. It was just a phone call for me,” Perry said. “It feels good to be a part of it.”

The total for the ten holiday shoppers came to $1,267.32. The bill was footed by an array of donors, with matching funds contributed by the City of Washington and Copper.

To view more images of the shopping trip click here:

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