The Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to make Christmas a little brighter for 19 children as a part of the department’s fourth annual Shop with a Deputy event.

The event provides less fortunate children from the rural areas of the county a chance to provide their families with a good Christmas, Sgt. Andy Schneider said.

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“We wanted to send them all home with a smile,” he said.

The event was founded by the Grand Forks County Deputies Association. This year, the law enforcement agency partnered with First Community Credit Union and local businesses around the county to provide each child with about $125 worth of gift cards to Target.

The UND Police Department also donated $750 to the cause, Schneider said. The association does fundraisers throughout the year, he said.

The event helps build a relationship with youth in the county, Schneider said.

“It’s a big deal for us, as law enforcement officers, to see kids in a positive environment and let them know that we are there to help them, and we are good people,” he said. “When there are troubles, we want them to know they’re able to run to us and not from us.”