By Danielle Smith
Leader Staff Writer
Meijer may look a bit busier than normal this Thursday, Dec. 5. That’s because the Oxford Village Police Department, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and Oxford Fire Department will gather there with 30 children for their annual Shop with a Hero event.
“Meijer started this back (in the mid 2000s) where each agency — the fire department, the sheriff’s department and us — all got two gift cards worth $150 a piece,” said Mike Solwold, Oxford Village police chief. The agencies were then told to go find two families who were in need and could benefit from those gift cards, which would total six families.
“We thought, ‘What if we go above and beyond and try and raise our own funds to bring more kids into it?’ So we did that and it started growing,” he said. Now each agency is allowed to bring 10 kids to participate each year.
While the cutoff is 10 kids, Solwold always keeps a list of names of those nominated because he still wants to help them out.
“People are so generous especially with the (Oxford mom and dad chatter Facebook groups). These online sites, they have been going out and getting funds together and donating,” he said. “I know they have been really generous with us to the point where we had more money than we did kids.”
Because of these extra funds, the department has been able to help out those additional families which have been nominated but aren’t able to attend Shop with a Hero.
“The families love it. I know they look forward to it every year. I know my guys here, everybody jumps at the chance to come,” Solwold said. “We have more than enough that want to come and do it. I love doing it too, we all love to get involved.”