Shop with a heroBeing a hero can mean many things. To 50 Eaton County children last Saturday, a hero was someone who helped make their holidays a little brighter.

Meijer, in conjunction with the Eaton Area Senior Center and eight local police and fire agencies, held its annual Shop With A Hero event on Nov. 16. Local heroes from the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department, Eaton Rapids Township Fire Department, Michigan State Police, Charlotte Police Department, Potterville Benton Township Fire Department, Nashville Police Department, Vermontville Township Fire Department and City of Eaton Rapids Fire Department, spent the afternoon getting to know some local children in need of some extra holiday cheer. Paired with their heroes, the children spent the afternoon shopping for Christmas gifts at the Charlotte Meijer store.

“We have such wonderful partners that we work with to make the event possible,” said Tina Thomas, Charlotte Meijer Store Director.

Each child received a $50 gift card courtesy of the Meijer Foundation.

“Watching the kids and knowing what they do in the store makes me cry,” said Larry Royston, one of the volunteer coordinators with the Eaton Area Senior Center. “There was one little boy who didn’t want anything for himself. He wanted a gift for his mother. It really breaks your heart.”

Families spent the first part of the day getting to know their heroes while enjoying lunch at the Eaton Area Senior Center. Children had the opportunity to make their own Christmas cookies as well as a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. EASC provided the cookies, ice cream and hot chocolate, while local businesses, Hungry Howies Pizza, Jet’s Pizza, Cottage Inn Pizza and Little Caesar’s Pizza donated lunch.