Chief Dave Bell of the Madison Township Fire Department, carries 5-month-old Liam Bayne through Walmart during the annual Shop with a Firefighter event this week. Police and firefighters treated several hundred children to shopping sprees and parties during their annual Christmas programs. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
Chief Dave Bell of the Madison Township Fire Department, carries 5-month-old Liam Bayne through Walmart during the annual Shop with a Firefighter event this week. Police and firefighters treated several hundred children to shopping sprees and parties during their annual Christmas programs. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
The Courierarea's Bravest and Finest continued the long tradition of bringing smiles and Christmas cheer to local children. This week, Christmas with a Cop and Shop with a Firefighter in Madison and Shop with a Cop in Carrollton served 219 children, allowing them to get clothes, shoes, coats and toys for Christmas.

The events began Tuesday with the Christmas with a Cop event. Thirty-seven children and their families met at Madison Junior High School where they were treated to a pizza dinner before meeting with Santa, then going to Walmart, where each child was able to spend $175 for their clothing and toys.

Christmas with a Cop included members of the Madison Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Hanover Police Department, the Indiana State Police and Madison City Hall employees.

Madison Police Department Detective Lt. Jonathon Simpson said he has been pleased with the support of other officers as well as the financial support of the community.

"When people need help, everyone pours in," Simpson said. The first children to be selected this year were any who were affected by the March tornado, he said.

"They went to the top of our list. We made sure they got what they needed," Simpson said.

On Wednesday, the long running Shop with a Firefighter program provided 102 children with $150 each to spend on coats, clothes, pajamas and toys.

The Shop with a Firefighter program draws support from all county and city firehouses, who have individual and collective fundraisers throughout the year in order to serve the area youths. The event was held at the Madison Township Firehouse and included a pizza dinner and after shopping at Walmart, the children returned to meet with Santa and received extra gifts from the Canaan Cowboy Club.

The final event, Thursday's Shop with a Cop in Carrollton, served 80 children with bikes, shoes, coats and $225 per child to spend at the Vanity Fair outlet store and at Walmart. The event included members of the Carrollton Police Department, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, the Carroll County Detention Center, Kentucky State Police, the Probation and Patrol Office and Pretrial Services Office. Donations came from yearlong fundraisers as well as the continued support of local industries and individuals.