More than 70 area children’s holiday wishes fulfilled with DeKalb police’s ‘Heroes and Helpers’ event

More than 70 nominating children were granted a holiday shopping spree as part of this year’s program.

Officer Allie Remner (left) shops with DeKalb resident Tayden Brown, 9, (right) as part of the "Heroes and Helpers" program put on by DeKalb police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022.

DeKALB – Nine-year-old Tayden Brown knows all too well that Christmas is the season of giving.

On Sunday, Brown took to Target with his heart set on buying slippers as a gift for his mom.

“Because she loves slippers,” Brown said. “She loves walking around in slippers. She lost her slippers. I got her new ones.”

Brown was among the more than 70 children nominated to be treated to a holiday shopping spree over the weekend thanks to the “Heroes and Helpers” program put on by the DeKalb Police Department.

DeKalb police worked with DeKalb School District 428 to nominate children to be matched with officers who volunteered to help children shop.

Each nominating child received $100 to spend at Target in DeKalb, and if they had siblings, they also received some money to spend in the store.

Officer Fabro (left) shops with Pierre Carter, 7, (right) of DeKalb as part of the "Heroes and Helpers" program put on by DeKalb police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022.

Officer Chris Sullivan said the point of the program is simple.

“We hope to build community,” Sullivan said. “We know that there are kids out there that might be struggling right now. So, we try to give them an opportunity that maybe they wouldn’t have this time of year [and] some stuff for Christmas.”

The police department started planning to hold the event in mid-October, organizers said.

“We put out some stuff on social media to try to raise some money and we had some other money come in,” Sullivan said. “There were a lot of people in the community that did it and lot of businesses that helped us out.”

Brown was shopping with Officer Allie Remner. Brown had already picked out a few items and placed them in his shopping cart.

Brown said he intends to give the slippers as a surprise gift to his mom.

“I have a WWE character, another WWE character, a GI Joe and also I have a phone,” Brown said.

Brown said the holidays always mean a lot to him.

“It means excitement happening and spending time with your family,” Brown said.

Brown said he’s been a good boy all year long.

“I almost got straight As on my report card,” Brown said.

DeKalb resident Maci Serrano, 10, (left) shops with Officer Cooper as part of the "Heroes and Helpers" program put on by DeKalb police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022.

Ten-Year-old Maci Serrano was shopping with Officer Cooper. Serrano said the holidays bring great meaning to her. She said it’s all about “spending time with my family.”

Serrano admitted that she’s not certain if Santa knows whether or not she’s been naughty or nice this year.

“I’m not sure about that,” she said.

But Serrano said she’s not expecting to get everything on her wishlist this year.

“I’ll be grateful for anything I get,” she said.

DeKalb resident Maci Serrano, 10, (left) shops with Officer Cooper as part of the "Heroes and Helpers" program put on by DeKalb police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022.