RENO, Nev. (KOLO) At the Walmart on Damonte Ranch Parkway, 250 kids from around Washoe County were given a special Christmas shopping spree. The annual Washoe County 'Shop with the Sheriff' event took place Tuesday, December 5.
The event gives local kids in need the chance to buy whatever they want for Christmas, but their shopping carts often reflect the true meaning of Christmas.
"You know these experiences are really neat 'cause for a moment when you're shopping with them, you can step into their life," Deputy Sheriff Francisco Gamboa said. "Know why they are there, hear about their story and their family, and it makes you feel really good knowing that you're helping them out."
Gamboa, along with his narcotics dog Murphy, took a young boy named David on his shopping spree. David had a wish list he was checking off. There were some items for him, but mostly he was shopping for his family,
"Every kid I come across, they think more of their family than themselves, Gamboa said. "Every single time I'd ask if he wanted something else he would think of a family member and say 'I want to get my sister this, or my brother this', and it just shows how cool he is."
David's list is typical of most of the kids who participate in the 'Shop with the Sheriff' event.
"They're looking for those shoes, those gloves, those warm coats, those socks," Sheriff Chuck Allen said. "The things we take for granted every single day. Those types of items mean a lot to them."
Each child is given $200 to spend. The money is raised by the Washoe County Honorary Deputy Sheriff's Association. But often times the carts filled with socks, shoes, and gifts for others exceed that amount. That is when the volunteers like Gamboa step in.
"If that dollar amount tends to go over just a little bit, it's not an issue for the child," Allen said. "The honorees always step up and pay the difference."