Shop with a Hero

by Heidi Tice

For several years now Detective Sergeant Bryan Rypstra has organized a program to give kids with financial needs a time to shop for Christmas gift for their whole family. The principal of each elementary school provides Det. Rypstra with names of children that families are struggling for Christmas. Meijer and Walmart organize sponsors that donate $100.00 gift cards for this event. The Fruitport Police and Fruitport Fire Department employees donate their time to take these kids through the stores and purchase gifts for their family members and of course 1 gift for them. After shopping they help the kids wrap the gifts so everything is ready to go under their tree.

Last year the amount collected for the program was $3,500.00 and their where 15 kids that participated. With any leftover gift cards, Det. Rypstra and his wife purchase hams, turkeys and can good to deliver to the homes for a help toward Christmas dinner.

The entire event is enjoyed by all. The kids get to give to their family this they are proud of and the Police & Fire guys get to soak up all the smiles and admiration. When a child looks up, smiles and says “thank you”; you know they really mean it.