Members of the Wellsville Police Department are doing what they can to spread Christmas cheer to families in need this holiday season.

“If all goes well, the best part will be smiles on the kids’ faces,” said officer Danny Hackler.

Hackler, a 15-year veteran of law enforcement, is the architect behind the Wellsville Police Department’s inaugural Shop with a Cop event, set to begin right before Christmas this year. With the help of the Wellsville school district, officers will be paired up with a select few children from the community to ensure the kids have a good Christmas.

“We have five officers on our department,” Hackler said. “We’ll take five kids who have been nominated by the school — normally it’s kids who are in need and won’t really get a Christmas — we’ll use funds that have been donated throughout the year. They’ll receive a $100 gift card to Walmart, and on a future date, we’ll team each kiddo up with an officer, and the five of us will shop with the kids.

There are few limitations on what the kids can spend the cash on, Hackler said.

“They can spend that $100 however they see fit,” he said. “They can spend it on themselves, or shop for parents or siblings. The main goal is to see these kids get some kind of toy out of Christmas.”

The idea for the program came through social media, Hackler said.

“We’ve had the idea for the last five years probably, and we saw another Kansas agency do it, and saw it yearly on their Facebook page,” Hackler said. “I thought that would be something we could bring to our small community that would be a positive interactive moment between us and the community.”

The project was then kick-started by an unknown community member, Hackler said.

“Our sincere thanks to an anonymous donor for making this happen,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have the funds to get this program up and running.”