MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The most wonderful time of the year may not always be as wonderful for some – but local first responders are working to change that this holiday season.
The Myrtle Beach Fire Department and Myrtle Beach Police Department have set up their booths at the Dickens Show, which is Myrtle Beach Convention Center. They’re not just talking about safety, they’re taking pictures to raise money.
Dressed in Victorian-style uniforms, the fire and police departments are taking pictures with patrons all weekend, each picture serving as a $1 donation to the Shop With A Hero Fund. At the end of the weekend, the department with the most pictures will get that money donated and use it to go out and buy Christmas gifts for children and their families who may not be so fortunate.
“It’s always a great time to see them. They’re happy to have time with us and go out and shop and do something they don’t always get to do, and of course, it’s Christmas time so what’s happier than that?” said Myrtle Beach Fire Department Lieutenant Jonathan Evans.
But this event means more to them than just buying gifts for children. Taking pictures at The Dickens Show and shopping with children and their families allows first responders to bridge the gap that their uniforms create, according to Evans. Children and their families may be unsure of approaching officials, but they are hoping with this event, that will change.
Myrtle Beach Police Department Capt. Joey Crosby said this event is great because it serves as an ice breaker and makes community members feel more comfortable speaking with officers and firefighters.
“Even though we’re in our traditional uniform, they see us outside of this uniform. It enhances our ability to have dialogue with them, open lines of communication and talk with them. It’s a great even for us. We thoroughly enjoy it, we enjoy the interaction, especially with the kids, and taking the photographs with them,” said Crosby.
Shop With A Hero is Dec. 9. Last year, the fire department raised around $900 and the police department raised around $400, according to Evans.
The Dickens Show continues today and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
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