More than 150 children in need received a special Christmas this year when they were taken on a shopping spree alongside local law enforcement and first responders during the annual Shop with a Sheriff events this month. The 155 children were paired with deputies, officers, dispatchers, and volunteers at the Goleta Target, and Lompoc and Santa Maria Walmart where they enjoyed a special breakfast and photo with Santa before loading up carts with toys, clothes, and treats.
The Santa Barbara Deputy Sheriff’s Association organized and hosted this event through their foundation, which provides financial support to non-profit organizations and local charities that strive to make a difference in the community and build positive experiences with law enforcement. For the past three years, the foundation has partnered with Domestic Violence Solutions of Santa Barbara who selects the children in their care and programs to participate. Funds were raised through the Santa Barbara Deputy Sheriffs’ Foundation annual Charity Poker Tournament along with community grants from both Walmart and Target Foundations.
“We are honored and privileged to be able to host and connect with these wonderful children, and to bring a joyful holiday season to those who may need a little extra cheer,” said Neil Gowing, President of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association. “We appreciate the community support and donations that have helped our foundation grow this noble cause countywide.”
“In 2021, we were able to host 40 children, in 2022 it grew to 120 children, and this year to 155 and a third location in Goleta,” said President Gowing. Due to the large number of children, we were able to serve this year, the DSA reached out to the Sheriff’s Office and neighboring public safety agencies to come together to host the families. A special thank you to members of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, Santa Barbara Police Department, Lompoc Police Department, Santa Maria Police Department, California Highway Patrol, University Police Department, and the District Attorney’s Office for sending volunteer shoppers.
Sheriff Brown said “We are proud to partner with the Deputy Sheriffs’ Foundation in this special annual event because the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office believes in giving back to our community with heart and compassion. Our team members don’t just uphold the law; they also embrace the spirit of unity and kindness. Through programs like ‘Shop with a Sheriff,’ we aim not only to protect but to uplift, ensuring that every child feels the warmth of the season and the support of their local law enforcement. Together, we build bridges of trust and forge bonds that make Santa Barbara County a safer and more caring place for all.”