The McDonough County Sheriff's Office Fraternal Order of Police held its annual Buddy Program. Parents say they couldn't make back to school ends meet without it.
Five-year-old Jesse James is shopping for a new back-to-school wardrobe with his mom, Marianne Lozier. The mother of two lost her husband last July. Getting everything her son needs for kindergarten is tough, that's why she's thankful for the Buddy Program.
"It's really nice to get the help," Lozier said. "It's hard for me to get them everything that they need."
The McDonough County Sheriff's Office Fraternal Order of Police hosts the back-to-school shopping event every year. Law enforcement officers team up with local families and shop with them to get school supplies and clothes for the new school year. Each child gets roughly $100 to spend.
"Times are tough for people," Deputy Adam Cremer said. "It shows them we are willing to help and that the police are there to help. Any little bit we can do to make it easier on people, I think goes a long way."
From new shoes, to notebooks and backpacks, 75 local kids will have everything they need to head back to class. And while the kids are excited to shop with a cop, the officers say the event always has a big impact on them as well.
"It's fun seeing the smiles on their faces when they get their school supplies and some new clothes and shoes," Cremer said. "It's just a positive environment for everybody."
So instead of stressing about how she will be able to pay for all her son's school supplies, Marianne can focus on sending him off to kindergarten with everything he needs.
"I just really appreciate the help," Lozier said.
Deputy Cremer adds the event is also a great way for kids to get more comfortable around police.