“One of the greatest days of the year.”

Commander Matt DuRose said Mankato Department of Public Safety officers and others will again spend a Saturday morning next month helping about two dozen kids pick out gifts for Christmas.

DuRose said the Shop with a Hero program is meant to give back to the smallest members of the community, and they work with, “The school district and a couple of other agencies to put us in touch with kids. There’s no formal sign up for it; you can’t call public safety, you can’t call human services, you can’t call the Salvation Army.”

This year’s batch of little shoppers has already been selected and invited.

Mankato Department of Public Safety Commander Matt DuRose.

“The funding comes from a grant from The Wal-Mart Foundation. We have also received generous donations from the Highland Park Neighborhood association again this year, and (we’re) working on some additional private donations that will help fund the program, and then usually the heroes will themselves will usually chip in,” he explained.

DuRose added that it’s not just cops but, “We’ve got firefighters and paramedics and military personnel as well, so a little bit of something for everyone.”

The kids will not just pick out a gift from themselves, but for each member of the family, and DuRose said how long it will take them to do that varies because some walk in and make their selections in ten minutes or so, others may take hours. And he said their reactions are priceless.

The shopping will be done at the Mankato Wal-Mart on Saturday, December 8th at 7:30 a.m.