Walmart pitches in to help make Christmas just a little bit merrier
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
This year marks the third “Shop with a Cop” event with the Little Falls Walmart. Nearly four dozen community members took time out from their busy schedules to help 47 children purchase gifts for their families.
Funding for this holiday event was received in part from Bernick’s Pepsi ($2,500) and through a Walmart Foundation grant to the Little Falls Police Department ($2,500). Each child received a $100 gift card to spend how they wished.
Members of Morrison County police departments, fire and rescue officers, city officials and others spent the afternoon with area children at Walmart in Little Falls during the third annual “Shop with a Cop” event. Those participating are front row, kneeling (from left): Little Falls Police Officers (LFPO) Craig Seelen and John Ruby, Minnesota State Patrol Officer Jason Brown, Morrison County (MCSO) Sheriff Michel Wetzel and LF Police Chief Greg Schirmers. Second row: Assistant Walmart manager Amanda Dawson, Kari Herman and Kim Acker from the MCSO, Walmart Assistant Manager Jackie Jackels, Royalton Police Chief Adam Gunderson, Morrison County Chief Deputy Tom Ploof, Randall Fire Chief John Kreuser, Camp Ripley Fire and Rescue team members Pat Boone and Andrew LeBlanc, LFPD Josh Andrea, MCSO Support Supervisor Mary Swenson, LF Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem, Little Falls City Council Member LeeAnn Doucette, Walmart Manager Teresa Kleinschmidt and MCSO Kristyna Stavish. Third row: MCSO Scott Mackissock, Pierz Police Chief Eric Hanneken, Little Falls Fire Department (LFFD) Bryan Flahave, LFPD Kyle Johnson, MCSO Al Yoder, Royalton Police Officer Tom Franklin, LFPD John West, LFFD members Brian Anderson and Joe Wiczek, LF Fire Chief Mike Nieman, LFPD Capt. Mike Casellas, Motley PD J.J. Jares and MCSO deputies Jake Heffron and Austin Scherping. Back row: MCSO Jason McDonald, Motley Police Chief Brian Madison, LFFD members Randy Kalis and Brett Clark, LFPD Bill Stroms, LFFD Brent Ambeuhl, Little Falls Supt. Stephen Jones, MCSO Shawn Larson and Pierz Fire Department Chris Young. Not pictured are Randall Police Chief Chuck Strack and LFPD Dispatcher/Records Technician Ronda Monnier.
Members of the Little Falls, Randall, Motley, Royalton and Pierz Police Departments; Camp Ripley, Randall, Pierz and Little Falls Fire Departments; the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office, the Little Falls City Council and the Little Falls Schools met at Walmart Tuesday to partner with a child for the afternoon of shopping.
Yasmine Wagner, a seventh grade student from Swanville, partnered with Little Falls Police Department Dispatcher/Records
Little Falls Fire and Rescue member Bryan Flahave, left, cruised the toy aisles checking out gifts for Sadie McCall’s family. McCall is a fifth grade student at Lincoln Elementary School in Little Falls.
Technician Ronda Monnier. She said she loves meeting the police officers.
“This event is very nice for the kids,” said Monnier. “It is good for their families and very nice of Walmart to do this.”
Walmart Manager Teresa Kleinschmidt said the event is a highlight of the season for her.
“This is my sixth or seventh year hosting this event,” Kleinschmidt said. “I did it in both St. Cloud and Alexandria and it’s my third year here.”
Kleinschmidt also said what touched her heart was seeing the children purchase gifts for their pets.
Chris Young, left, from the Pierz Fire Department, shopped with Jedda Simpson, a seventh grader at Pierz Schools. The kids bought very little for themselves, concentrating on their families.
Little Falls Police Chief Greg Schirmers said the entire event was impressive.
Each kid had a story to tell,” said Schirmers. “The shopping was done all for the families, with little for themselves. It was very impressive. We all felt very good when finished.”