A sea of men and women from the Douglasville Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, members of the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy Alumni (CLEAA), Kiwanis Club members, local elected officials and other volunteers rallied Thursday to make sure that 120 selected children experienced some Christmas joy.

The gathering marked the 20th year for the Kids Christmas Special, put on by the Kiwanis Club of Douglas County. When the children arrived at the Douglasville Wal-Mart Thursday morning, they had the opportunity to have to have their photo made with Santa Claus, enjoy refreshments and test their artistic skills coloring. However, the main event was strolling the aisles with a volunteer paired with a student to assist them with doing some serious Christmas shopping.

The young shoppers from Mt. Carmel, Eastside, Burnett, Bright Star, North Douglas and Dorsett Shoals elementary schools were allocated $100 each to select gifts for themselves or for siblings, parents and grandparents.

Wal-Mart associates were on hand to assist the young shoppers and make the event run seamlessly. Personnel Coordinator DeAnna Laura and Training Coordinator Hope Nelson stayed busy passing out biscuits and juice boxes and keeping the youngsters entertained in the big box store’s break room.

Each child had a shopping list clutched in his or her hand; some were quiet and shy, while other children were bursting with excitement. But no one was more excited and engaged than the adults who participated in the Kids Christmas Special.

Many of the local law enforcement faces were familiar from previous years. But Douglasville Police Officer Emmanuel Johnson said this was his first time volunteering at Kids Christmas Special.

"I'm having a great time helping these kids shopping for themselves and family members," he said. "This is a great experience for all of us."

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