Public safety officials bring holiday cheer to local families

Published 2:02 pm Monday, December 13, 2021

NILES — Saturday morning, 29 children perused the shelves of Walmart in Niles looking for the perfect gifts for themselves and their loved ones with the help of some of Santa’s helpers.

However, these helpers weren’t dressed in the traditional red and green, bells on their shoes and red hats on their head. Instead, Santa’s helpers wore badges and uniforms.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit continued the tradition of Shop with a Cop, in which Berrien County families are treated to a shopping trip. The reserve unit partnered with the Berrien Springs Oronoko Township Police Department, the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety, the Benton Harbor Area Boys & Girls Club and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Sworn Deputies to collect more than $9,000, which funded the event.

These funds enabled 14 families and 29 children from Niles, Berrien Springs, Benton Harbor and New Buffalo areas to shop for holiday gifts for themselves, their family members and their friends. Participants were suggested by representatives of area schools and civic organizations.

According to a press release from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, “Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit member Kimberly Fedison spent countless volunteer hours organizing this event.”

“In addition to providing the funding to allow the children to shop, the Berrien County Sheriff’s office Reserve Unit also provided holiday food baskets, and gift cards to the fourteen families, so they could enjoy a wonderful holiday feast, have a wonderful holiday celebration with gifts under the tree, as well as enabling them to purchase a ‘special gift’ for their entire families to enjoy,” stated the press release.

After the shopping spree, the Berrien County Reserve Unit members and members of partner agencies and organizations took the children and their families to Michiana Christian Embassy in Niles for snacks and gift wrapping with the church’s members.

The following businesses and/or civic organizations donated money, goods, and services to this function. Without these donations, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit along with the partner agencies and organizations would not have been able to assist the eight families and their children.
• Niles area Walmart
• Pike Funeral Home & Cremation Services
• Michiana Christian Embassy
• Honor Credit Union
• Wightman
• D.A. Dodd
• Milano Pizza of Niles
• Red Bud Recreation Inc.
• Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit
• Friends for Berrien Springs
• Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Sergeants, Lieutenants, and Command Personnel
• LECO Corporation
• Subway Restaurant, Niles Walmart
• Siemans in Bridgman
• Antibus Scales & Systems

• The Zimmerle Family
• United Federal Credit

“[We] are extremely proud of the efforts put forth by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit for this wonderful cause as well as all of their volunteer hours they donate to the County of Berrien and the local municipalities throughout the year, to ensure that the County of Berrien, it’s local communities, and the surrounding areas are a wonderful place to live and visit,” wrote Sheriff Paul Bailey in a press release. “The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Personnel and all local law enforcement and first responders are proud to serve and protect their communities on a daily basis by protecting and serving, as well as providing support at times individuals need assistance.”