Project 25 shopping: Here to help children in need

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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - For many parents, filling Santa's shoes is no easy job.

Bay County Sheriff's deputies and other volunteers are shopping for Project 25. This year they are shopping for around 1,300 children in need. (WJHG/WECP)

"I have five of my own, you're gonna make me cry, and this past year has been really tough for us," said Project 25 Volunteer Shopper, Tracie Robinson.

Robinson is one of many feeling the lingering effects of Hurricane Michael, but she still took the time to join Bay County Sheriff's efforts in providing a Christmas for children in need.

"When I can give back, I try my hardest to give back to other kids because I know what I've been through and I know the struggles that I live in," said Robinson.

Project 25 is undertaking its 39th year in providing a smile for children Christmas morning.

"People ask me all the time, what does Project 25 mean to me? And it means to me, it's people helping people. and if we can't help each other after the devastation that we've all been through in the last year, that's what the Sheriff's Office is about," said Project 25 Coordinator, Becky Jones.

This year Sheriffs deputies and volunteers are shopping for around 1,300 children, and the Sheriff says that's almost double the number of children from last year.

"We have so many kids that we're trying to help this year and so many kids that need it, we're doing two shoppings," said Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford.

Volunteers and deputies start shopping by getting a tag with the child's age, name, and gender. Then the cart fills up with around $50 worth of toys for each kid.

"We get donations throughout the year from some very generous people and donors who have contributed to Project 25 for years," said Sheriff Ford.

Proving Santa's elves are here to spread the holiday cheer!

"It's always a blessing when I can help somebody else, no matter what it is," said Robinson.

Thursday parents will head to the Sheriff's Office to pick up the toys for their children.

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