“Last year, we did this ourselves and were able to buy gifts for five kids,” Sheriff Carlos Carrizales Jr. said Friday as he met with volunteers at the Walmart Supercenter.
One deputy remembered that a child showed up at the last minute last year, and the deputies and bystanders chipped in to make a shopping spree possible for him.
This year, thanks to generous donors, the sheriff and his crew were able to let 15 children buy gifts for Christmas.
Deputies and jailers met with members of the sheriff’s office Explorer Post 200 and representatives from the schools in the three communities.
Carrizales and Chief Deputy Alden Southmayd said that after the sheriff’s office hosted its first “Shop with the Sheriff” event last year, several businesses and individuals called and said they wanted to donate to the effort this year.
Carrizales said that is why the department was able to triple the number of kids who went shopping this year.
Donors included Macro Oil Company, the Beeville chapter of Rotary International, A-Plus Bail Bonds and Gary and Angelina Henry.
Each child was accompanied by a team of volunteers and a shopping cart at Beeville’s Walmart Supercenter. The shoppers drew the attention of some Walmart employees and shoppers as well.
Carrizales remembered that he and his deputies were stopped by several shoppers last year and handed cash donations.
Deputy Lt. John Davis told the children that they could each spend $100. But Carrizales and Southmayd winked and said they had enough donations to cover anything that went over the amount.
Davis shared a list of the donors for this year’s shopping spree and pointed out such donors as Dan A. Hughes, The Hair Station and Mercedita Flynn.
Other donations came from Bee Towing, JR’s Towing, Ram’s Bail Bonds and AAA Bail Bonds.
When the children finished their special shopping day, Walmart opened up a special register in the lawn and garden department to get them checked out and back on the road to their homes.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.