12/21/08 — Fraternal Order of Police take children Christmas shopping

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Fraternal Order of Police take children Christmas shopping

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on December 21, 2008 2:00 AM

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Goldsboro police help children choose toys during the annual Shop with an Officer event Saturday.

Jasmine McLamb, 6, had to count the days in her head.

She looked at a cart full of toys and clothes, including a mechanized dog.

"Is it the 20th?" she said, waiting for confirmation near a Spence Avenue Wal-Mart checkout line on Saturday morning.

When she got it, she launched five fingers over her head -- just five days until she could open her cartload of gifts.

Jasmine was part of the Wayne County Fraternal Order of Police's annual Shop with an Officer program.

The foster daughter of Wayne and Tammy Cannucci didn't care much about what the program was called, just the bounty it provided.

She told her family she couldn't wait for the day when she could play with dolls and the other toys loaded up as part of the annual, charitable shopping spree for disadvantaged children.

This year, 21 children were sponsored, for a total of $2,100 at $100 per child involved. One child did not make it to the event, organizers Russell and Teresa White said.

Dennis Brock of the Goldsboro Harley Owners Group, whose organization has been a principal sponsor of the event for years, said the program has shown him goodness in people.

"I've told this story a lot: We come and shop with a little 11-year-old boy, and I think there were five or six in each family, and we bought him some clothes and stuff," Brock said.

"I looked at him and told him 'OK, you've got $100 left,' and he looked up at me and said, 'Wow, I've never had $100 before.' I had to leave, I had to walk off. I couldn't take it. It's a good thing. It's a great thing, to help these kids."

Also among the young shoppers Saturday morning were Deyelle and Faizon Morrisey, who had been promised a portable gaming system.

Their shopping spree helped them purchase some games for their expected "big" Christmas gift, and they were excited.

Their parents, Donna Morrisey and Terrence Carlton, said a difficult economy made it harder to provide for Christmas morning.

"It's kind of tough, because there's two of them," Mrs. Morrisey said, referring to whether she would have to buy two portable gaming systems, or have the brothers share.

But whatever the decision, Deyelle and Faizon were intent on having a portable Nintendo gaming console, their father said.

"It's all they talk about," he said.

Kim Brogden, a Wayne County Public Schools employee and social worker who helps to pick children for the charity, said she ensures that children don't "double dip" into other local gift-giving charities.

She also picks out students who are most in need, she said.

"They've helped kids that have lost homes due to fire, whose parents have been facing unemployment, situations where children are being raised by other family members," Ms. Brogden said. "A lot of kids whose families are facing a lot of sickness."

Jesse Jernigan, the president of the Wayne County Fraternal Order of Police, and Rito Jackson, the order's chaplain, said a fundraiser provides a source for most of the donated funds.

"We give them a $100 donation, and we want then to buy some clothes, and then some toys," Jackson said.

Sometimes, the donation spurs not just the joy of a Christmas shopping spree, but thoughts of their loved ones in the children, Jernigan said.

"We've even had kids come through, instead of them spending it on themselves, they would take and buy their mother something, because they see what hardship she goes through every day," the chapter president said.