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'Shop with a Deputy' enters eighth year in Grand Forks

Every year, 15 to 20 kids in need are selected from rural schools. With the help of deputies and Target employees, they get to pick out presents for their families and themselves.

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Grand Forks County Sheriff Andy Schneider wraps presents during the Grand Forks County Deputies Association's eighth annual "Shop with a Deputy" event on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022.
Sav Kelly/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks County Deputies Association came together for its annual “Shop with a Deputy” event at Target on Monday, Dec. 12.

The event started in Grand Forks eight years ago after Investigator Steve Hamre saw a need in the community, Grand Forks Sheriff's Deputy Black Buchmeier said.

“That’s what Christmas is all about,” said Buchmeier, who has been running the event over the past four years.

Hamre coordinated with a local organization — First Community Credit Union — which continues to sponsor the event. Other sponsors include Next Era Energy, Target and Papa John’s. Papa John’s donated around 20 pizzas for the event this year.

When the event was first proposed to Target, the store was "all for it" and it has “been going strong ever since," Buchmeier said.

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For Monday's event, local schools volunteered their buses and bus drivers to pick the children up and drive them to the bank, where they ate pizza. Then they went holiday gift shopping.

There were around 16 deputies, as well as additional employees and spouses, at the event. Target provided more than 20 employees to help.

Each child had one Target employee and one deputy help them pick out gifts for their parents, siblings and themselves.

“We try to spread it out throughout the whole family,” Buchmeier said.

After gifts are chosen, deputies and the employees help the kids wrap them.

“(Target) had a hot chocolate bar and snacks,” said Buchmeier. “They donate all the wrapping paper and everything else. It’s just wonderful.”

Each year, roughly 15 to 20 children participate from throughout the county. The schools pick different students each year.

The Grand Forks County Deputies Association volunteers and donates to the community in various additional ways. The association has hosted a golf tournament for the past two years to raise funds for the county.

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On Monday, the association bought snacks, hats, gloves, and snow pants for nearby schools in need.

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Sav Kelly joined the Grand Forks Herald in August 2022.

Kelly covers public safety, including local crime and the courts system.

Readers can reach Kelly at (701) 780-1102 or skelly@gfherald.com.
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