OAK GROVE, Mo. — Like most girls her age, Keylee Foster, 11, could shop til she dropped. However, because her family has fallen on hard times, splurges are few and far between – with the exception of one special night.
With Oak Grove police and Sni Valley firefighters in tow, Keylee and nine other kids filled their shopping carts with gifts for their families at the Oak Grove Walmart as part of the store’s annual ‘Shop with a Hero’ event.
“To me, it’s giving back to the community and seeing the look in the kids’ eyes when they get to buy gifts,” said Robert Marshall, an officer with the Oak Grove Police Dept. “We try to encourage them to buy something for themselves too but believe it or not, most of them are more interested in buying gifts for their family than they are for themselves.”
The kids’ families get help from Community Services League, an Easter Jackson county organization that helps families in need.
“I want them to be first way before I get anything because it’s nice for me to give before I get anything,” said Keylee.
Keylee’s mom Breanna Trisler has been unemployed for quite some time. She said Keylee’s gifts will be a welcome addition when the family unwraps gifts this year.
“I don’t normally look forward to Christmas, but with her being able to this it’s exciting,” said Trisler. “Every year I dread that they’re not going to get anything and then by some miracle something happens and somebody helps out. I love it. It’s great.”
In its tenth year, the ‘Holiday Heroes’ program provides around a dozen kids the chance to buy $100 in gifts for their family and friends.
“It’s Christmastime, we work in retail, it’s always very busy, stressful, but this is one night I really look forward to,” said Monte Summerlin the Oak Grove Walmart store manager. “It’s a great to watch these kids run around and see the kinds of things they pick out. They love picking out things for their mom, their dad, their brothers and their sisters and then they like to sneak a few things in for them as well, so it’s a great time.”
While the Oak Grove Walmart gives back year round, the store always makes sure it has enough money to support ‘Shop with a Hero,’ so local kids and their families can have a memorable Christmas.