Deputies Help Homeless Kids Shop for School

By David Culver
|  Thursday, Aug 22, 2013  |  Updated 7:24 PM EDT
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Dozens of Fairfax County deputies rolled out the carts to take 30 needy children on a school shopping spree. Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver has the story.

David Culver

Dozens of Fairfax County deputies rolled out the carts to take 30 needy children on a school shopping spree. Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver has the story.

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Stocking up to send your children back to school isn't cheap, but it's even tougher for the homeless in our community.

Thursday morning, Fairfax County Sheriff's deputies made it a little easier for those struggling financially. They shopped with 30 homeless children from Fairfax County.

They met outside the Burke, Va. Target store and each student was given $325 to spend on clothes, supplies, and toys.

Brielle Wallace, a rising first grader, is one of the children signed up for the annual event. She quickly latched onto her shopping buddy, deputy Heather Lama.

"We're both police officers!" Brielle jokingly shouted.

Inside the store, one deputy directed shopping cart traffic while deputy Lama and Brielle were off. First stop? Shoes.

They spotted a pink and purple pair, Brielle's favorite colors.

"Are they too tight?" deputy Lama asked. "You got to tell me."
"Nope! They fit," Brielle shouted.
"Okay we'll buy them then!" Deputy Lama said.

An aisle over, Khavon, Brielle's brother, found his pair. And his mother, Ambria Wallace, approved.

"Did you pick those out?" Ambria asked her son.
"Yup!" He proudly responded. "Fit just right!"

Despite working full time, Wallace is homeless. She and her four children are living in a Fairfax County shelter.

"It is a stressful, frustrating type of situation to be in," Wallace admitted. "But we make it through."

Jolie Smith of Shelter House says Wallace is alone.

"1,300 people on any given night are homeless in Fairfax County and a third are children," Smith said.

Ambria looks at the Shop With A Sheriff event as a blessing. And not just for the material goods. She says it also allows her kids to look at police officers differently.

"You really don't see that side of law enforcement," Wallace said. "It's amazing the things that they're doing... and we are so grateful. Definitely grateful."

"That's what we want, we're not all bad," deputy Lama said. "We're here to help. And that's why we got into this job... is to help people."
 

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