Detroit – Wayne County Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon and about 20 of his deputies spent Saturday with families at Meijer on a free shopping spree.
The staff of volunteers took the store, at 21431 Grand River, over around 10 a.m. giving parents vouchers for their groceries based on their need.
Families were recommended by elected officials, clergy members and the sheriff’s office as those who were the most in need. Each family received a $75 voucher to be used for a holiday dinner and each child in the family was granted $200 to spend.
“Through our plethora of sponsors, we are buying dinner for 90 families and shopping for 320 kids in Wayne County,” said Napoleon. “Other than the time I have with my own family, this is the best day of the year.”
This is the third year the sheriff’s office has held itsshopping spree at Meijer. Since 2009, they have blanketed the county on Christmas Eve hand delivered gifts to families experiencing hardship, but in 2015, they decided to give them exactly what they needed for the holiday.
Napoleon said it’s a joy to see the diversity of items the families choose to buy.
“Last year, a young man picked out a pair of boots. We of course got him toys and things we thought he could enjoy but he would not let go of those boots and it just reminds you of things we take for granted,” he said.
Keshia Banks brought her four children, twin 6-year-olds Leah and Alyssa, 10-year-old Jeremiah, Honesty, 16, to shop for winter clothes and food they need to pack school lunches.
“I was recommended by my pastor at Detroit Burns Seventh-day Adventist Church and I just surprised the kids when we got here so their pretty excited to go shopping throughout the store and take home what they pick out,” said Banks.