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Volusia County deputies help students shop for free school supplies

Each child got up to $200 for clothing, supplies

DELAND, Fla. – Several Volusia County deputies helped students get ready for the new school year by shopping for supplies and uniforms.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 40 in New Smyrna Beach hosted the "Shop with a Cop" event Sunday at the Walmart in DeLand. 

More than 100 children from west Volusia County were selected by school resource officers to participate in the event. Organizers said each student got up to $200 to spend on new school supplies and clothing. Local businesses made donations to pay for the supplies.

"I'm glad that we can do this. We're going to do as much as we can," Stephen Hoinacki, the former president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 40 said.

Students and their families filled shopping carts with uniforms, backpacks and pencils.

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"I got two notebooks," third-grader Kiara Arrington said.

"We've got tissues, we've got socks," third-grader Elizabeth Butts said. 

Parents were especially thankful for the free shopping trip.

"It was just a blessing because I'm a grandmother and I'm raising two children, so it really helped us," Ophelia Butts said.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood adds this is getting results for families in need.

"Some of these parents are working two or three jobs and they're single moms and this is a huge help for them," Chitwood said.

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Organizers are making sure these students start the school year on the right foot and are building positive relationships between the students and law enforcement. 

"There will hopefully be some sort of bonding," Hoinacki said.


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