The Angelina County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for its fifth annual Shop with a Cop program to help provide Christmas for local children in need.

Jana Thompson launched the program in 2015 with the intent to give local children a positive experience in meeting with local deputies and wandering a store to pick out toys they’d like. A “Secret Santa” would follow behind to retrieve the selected gifts for the child.

“The deputies donate their personal time to do this, and it’s so the children can see a positive from law enforcement as well as providing them with a Christmas,” Thompson said.

“If there’s a need for coats, shoes, clothing, we try to fill that need, as well. It’s not just toys.”

Over the years, Shop with a Cop has continued to grow, in both the number of children the program provides for and the number of deputies who are participating. Originally, it started with a single deputy.

“This year we’ve added two more deputies, making a total of seven,” Thompson said. “Our goal this year is to help 20 kids. Last year we provided Christmas for 18.”

Additionally, Thompson said the deputies will have eight “elves” who will help them with the kids.

Prior to the shopping day, the children will meet with the deputies at Chick-fil-A and share a meal on Dec. 12. This year’s Shop with a Cop will be held at Walmart Dec. 14.

Those who wish to donate to the program may drop off donations at the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, or contact Thompson at 240-9015.

Austin King’s email address is austin.king@lufkindailynews.com.