About 100 Dumfries-area children bustled among the toy department aisles on Saturday morning.
Each youngster was treated to a $100 Christmas in Dumfries shopping spree at Woodbridge’s Wal-Mart, courtesy of the Dumfries Police Department in conjunction with several other local organizations.
Volunteers from several of those organizations, including the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad, the Dumfries Town Council and the Dumfries-Potomac Lions Club, escorted excited youngsters with wide eyes and thrifty spending habits throughout the store.
“I love those,” said Vincent Vaphides, 5, to Officer Gregory Floyd. Vincent, a fan of anything with four wheels, will be spending Christmas day playing with an array of toy vehicles, including two large emergency services vehicle sets, four Dub City mini-cars and a Tonka tractor and wagon. The generous shopper was willing to share his newfound wealth with his mother, for whom he selected a jar candle.
The joy of giving was not lost on Travis Cropper, 8, who bought a set of glasses for his mother.
Travis, an aficionado of all things branded “Monster Garage,” a Discovery Channel TV show, could not pass up the Monster Garage Pop-a-Wheelie Ambulance or a logo-bearing hat.
Volunteer Lawrence Lawton, who escorted Travis and Sherman Ancrum, 12, patiently tallied running totals and offered advice to the young shoppers considering selections.
“I was young also back in the day. Might as well give back to the community by helping,” said Lawton.
Local businesses and individuals contributed about $12,000 to the fifth annual Christmas in Dumfries.
Many of the fire and police personnel were familiar with the children from regular interaction in the community, so they knew that a need existed, according to Sgt. Aracelis Marcano-Worley. Churches, schools and other organizations also provided the police department with names of children to participate in Christmas in Dumfries.
No one was turned away.
“Because there are a lot of families out there that are needy and have no way of getting any type of help to make Christmas a little brighter,” said Marcano-Worley.
Desiree Branun, 6, and Dumfries Lions Club President Toni Brinson maximized Desiree’s shopping experience to the fullest. Desiree smiled proudly while describing her new pink and purple bicycle, camera, pink fuzzy phone and a stuffed kitten.
“I love shopping,” said Desiree.