Which is why the Brazil City Police Department is preparing for the eighth annual "Shop with a Cop" program.
Brazil Police Chief Dave Archer said the program helps provide some "Christmas cheer" to children of local families who have experienced hardship during the year.
Applications to sign up for the program are available now at the BCPD, but must be returned on or before Dec. 5 for a child to be considered.
"We've helped approximately 20 children each year in the past, but we're hoping to include even more this year," Archer said. "With the economy being like it is right now, we figure there will be more children in need this year."
With that in mind, the department has stepped up fundraising efforts this year and Archer said the community has risen to the challenge.
"We've had several local businesses, banks, organizations, churches and citizens donate this year, so we have a little more than usual," he said. "And we are working on some fundraisers for the upcoming weeks so that we can collect even more since things are a little harder for families this year."
Donations will be collected at BCPD until Dec. 1, and then it's time for the officers and staff members from the BCPD and the Clay County Sheriff's Department to meet with the children and plan their shopping trips to Wal-Mart, which has been scheduled for Dec. 16.
"Not only do the children, but the officers themselves look forward to this event each year," Archer said. "It's a great way for the two departments to promote goodwill and Christmas spirit in the community."
Although the first priority is to purchase needed clothing, such as winter coats and shoes, Archer said there's usually enough money reserved to purchase a few toys and do some shopping to buy small presents for parents or siblings.
"This program helps the children to see police officers are their friends and that they are here to help them," Archer said. "This is a way for us to build a relationship with the public now, and in the future. If we work with our young people today, hopefully they'll have a better feeling toward police officers tomorrow."
How to help
To help make a local child's Christmas a little brighter, monetary donations can be made until Dec. 1 for the eighth annual "Shop with a Cop" program.
Checks, made out to "Shop with a Cop," can be sent to the Brazil City Police Department, 203 E. National Ave., Brazil, 47834.
The program will use donations received after Dec. 1 for next year's program.