As originally reported in the Midland Daily News
, Wednesday, December 6, was the 18th annual 'Shop with a Hero' event at Midland's local Meijer store. Volunteer first responders from Midland Police Department, Mills Township Fire Department and Mid-Michigan Medical Center EMS outnumbered the 20 kids invited by Salvation Army to spend $100 at Meijer for Christmas gifts. Kiddos got to choose which “hero” to accompany them as they crossed off gifts for loved ones on their list.
Joyful and enthusiastic, Lexia Schmidt, age 7, practically jumped onto EMS paramedic Marc Thrush as they began their journey around the store. Included on her list was the movie Minions, for her family as well as a Paw Patrol stuffed puppy for Thrush.
Salvation Army hosts this event annually first and foremost to create a positive interaction between the kids and a respected member of the Midland community.
Local Salvation Army Captain Katrina Goodwill explains, "We have a diverse group of children this year.” She added that the children are chosen because they have gone through some sort of recent life change - be it money, recently new to the area or family transitions like divorce. It could be social or emotional, but regardless, the goal is to create a memorable experience that makes their holiday season a bit more joyful.