Renee Jacques and Kevin Jacques were at Walmart on Frederica Street on Tuesday night with their son, Albert. Daviess County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Mattingly was helping Albert shop for Christmas toys -- specifically, monster trucks.

Earlier in the day, the family had been informed Albert had been selected to participate in the Fraternal Order of Police's annual "Shop with a Cop" event for families in need.

"Hager Preschool called me today" and told them Albert had an invitation to the event, Renee Jacques said.

"It was quick notice," Kevin Jacques said. "We weren't ready." The family was surprised and grateful to be invited to participate.

"It will be a big help," Renee Jacques said. "... We are on a fixed income."

Mattingly said volunteering in the annual event is a tradition for him and his family.

"The satisfaction of seeing a smile on a little kid's face is enough for me," Mattingly said.

Albert was one of 95 children invited to participate in the event. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 16 holds two Shop with a Cop events each year, one at the beginning of the school year and a larger Christmas event.

Loren Yonts, an OPD officer and the FOP's coordinator for the event, said each child had $160 to spend, with half for clothing and the rest for Christmas toys.

"We've been blessed by having good donations," Yonts said. The funds come from the FOP's annual telemarketing campaign.

The kids are recommended to the FOP by schools and by officers, who encounter kids and families in need while making service calls.

"We want to reach out and be able to help people," Yonts said. The officers, deputies, state troopers, constables and deputy jailers at the event were all volunteering their time, Yonts said.

"Everyone is here because they want to be here," Yonts said.

Dezireno Douglas was at the event with his son, Dezireno "DJ" Douglas III. "It means everything to me, and him," Douglas said. "He's going to have a good Christmas."

Martisa Curry was with her two children, De'naeya Curry, 6, and Danyel Thomas, 9. Curry said her children participated in last year's event, and get more from the experience than clothes and toys.

"It gives the kids a good opportunity to meet the officers and know they are safe, and not be afraid of them," Curry said. "That's important for my kids ... It gives them a learning experience."

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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