Among the other decorations, holiday shoppers cruising through Walmart in Hampstead might notice a tree full of colorful paper tags.
The tree is an “angel tree,” part of the Shop With a Cop program that has been a tradition with the Hampstead Police Department for several years. Hampstead is one of several Carroll law enforcement agencies that participate in the event, which takes place nationwide.
Law enforcement agencies are paired with low-income families, allowing the two groups to spend a day shopping for personal items and holiday gifts, followed by a holiday party for all.
Visitors to Walmart in Hampstead at 2320 Hanover Pike can purchase a gift for one of the children by picking a tag from the tree. Each contains a description of the child and a gift or item for them. After it is purchased, shoppers should leave the gifts under the tree. They will be wrapped by volunteers and delivered to the families later in the month.
Monetary donations can also be made by making a cash donation or writing a check payable to “Town of Hampstead” and dropping it off at the Hampstead Police Department or Hampstead Town Hall.
The deadline to purchase gifts is Dec. 3. The shopping day and a breakfast with families will be held Dec. 7.
Hampstead Police Chief Thomas Snyder praised the organizers in his department as well as their partners in the store.
“Walmart does a really wonderful job up there. They’re good people,” he said.
Of the annual event, he said, “It’s a good thing. It’s nice to see how people go out of their way to help people who have had a bad year, or maybe a few more challenges than themselves.”
“This program would not be possible without the generous donations received from our community businesses and citizens. We greatly appreciate our community’s support,” the department wrote in a Facebook post about the event.
Across Carroll County, the Westminster Police Department will also be participating in a Shop With a Cop shopping day and meal with families in partnership with Walmart.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Salvation Army to sponsor three families and will have a shopping day with the kids and a pizza party in mid-December at the Target at 200 Malcolm Drive in Westminster.
Three local businesses stepped up to make donations for a meal to be delivered to the sponsored families along with the wrapped gifts: Hahn’s of Westminster, Weis Markets and Baugher’s.
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If an individual or a business wants to sponsor their own family, they can contact the Salvation Army at 410-876-9358 about adopting an “angel” before Dec. 16.