STEVENSVILLE — The Kent Island Optimist Club hosted its 6th annual “Shop with a Hero” event for area children in need Saturday, Dec. 14. Formerly known as Shop with a Cop, the event has expanded to include firefighters and other first responders from the immediate area.

This year, a record 64 children from Queen Anne’s County were identified as needing assistance to secure a good Christmas for them. Children from Stevensville to Chestertown participated.

Items were purchased by the KI Optimist Club ahead of the “shopping” day. The Optimist club used funds they had acquired through fundraising efforts earlier this year, and personal donations. The items provided for the children to choose from ranged from winter coats and clothing, to games, toys and food items.

Among those who came as escorts for the children included members of the Maryland State Police, Centreville; Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office; Centreville Police Department; Maryland Natural Resources Police, a couple from the Montgomery County Police Department who reside on Kent Island; members of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department; and Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services.

Each child was provided a large red “Santa sack” to carry around the different areas inside the community hall at the KIVFD where the shopping took place. In past years, the shopping always took place at the Kent Island Kmart, however, with the Kmart closing the first week in December, a different type shopping had to be arranged.

After the shopping was concluded, the children were escorted to the Kent Island American Legion, Post 278, in Stevensville, where everyone was provided a hot breakfast. The children also had the opportunity to personally meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Legion.

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