ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office made Christmas a little merrier for local children this weekend.
On Saturday, Sheriff Mark Gulledge, along with several deputies and other RCSO employees, took more than 30 kids on a holiday shopping spree at Walmart for the annual Shop with a Deputy program.
The children, identified by the school district, each received a gift card with a $250 spending limit and walked down the aisles to pick their presents.
Most filled their carts with a variety of toys; one older child maxed out buying a drone.
Several of the kids thought about more than themselves, and found gifts for other family members.
The Shop with a Deputy program was started in 2020 by late sheriff James Clemmons, who passed away in August of 2021.
A lot of the funding came through donations from the community, including $2,000 from the third annual Back the Blue motorcycle ride, which raises money for similar programs in both Richmond and Scotland Counties.
Emma Watts, daughter of Sgt. Richard Watts, sold handmade soap over several months to generate $600 for the cause.
“We just want to thank everyone that came out and participated in our Shop with a Deputy (program) this morning and thank the Richmond County community for all the support and love that they give us,” Gulledge said.
On Sunday, RCSO teamed up with the Ellerbe Rescue Squad and Santa to hand out toys to children in that town.
The RCSO will join Cordova Fire and Rescue on Dec. 17 to do the same.