(MURFREESBORO) Ninety Rutherford County students will enjoy the spirit of Christmas, thanks to Toot's restaurants' diners and contributors to the Shop with the Sheriff program.
School resource officers and Sheriff's Citizens Academy alumni members will ask Toot's diners to donate during a fund-raising event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Toot's on Broad, Toot's South on South Church Street and Toot's West on Franklin Road.
SRO Sgt. Bill West said the program will add middle and high school students this Christmas.
"We will shop with children who are going through a crisis where parents need help," West said. "I am amazed by the support of people in our community who donate. It's fun to be at Toot's and watch people involved in the funding."
Sheriff's Sgt. Jimmy Cassidy said SROs, alumni and sheriff's deputies will accompany the students as they choose Christmas parents during the Shop with the Sheriff event Dec. 14 at Wal-Mart on Old Fort Parkway.
The MTSU Forensic Science Society will provide breakfast before shopping.
"Shop with the Sheriff is a fantastic way to give Christmas to kids who would not ordinarily have presents," Cassidy said. "We thank Toot's for providing a way to raise funds since we started Shop with the Sheriff. They have been a phenomenal partner."
General Manager Spence Wilson of Toot's on Broad said he was overjoyed to host Shop with the Sheriff, one of his favorite events each year.
Toot's, a Murfreesboro staple since 1985, is supported by a community of fans.
"Shop with the Sheriff is one way that we get to show our appreciation of such a faithful group of Toot's supporters," Wilson said. "Knowing we get an evening to raise funds for families and children to bring some Christmas magic into their holiday means more to myself and my staff then we can express through words. I appreciate the Rutherford County Sheriff's office for partnering with Toot's for this event and cannot wait to see the impact we have when we all come together for such an amazing cause."
General Manager Johnny Maurizi of Toot's South said his restaurant supports the children helped by Shop with the Sheriff.
"It gives those kids a chance to rejoice in the season of giving, as well as giving them a sense of hope in the goodness of people," Maurizi said. "We are blessed to be a part of such a wonderful event."
General Manager Macey Johnson of Toot's West said as a parent of a child in an inner-city elementary school, she has seen the impact of the program of socks, coats, toys and bicycles to kids whose family could not provide for them.
"We have experienced the magic of Christmas through the kids' eyes and have seen the gratitude in their parents' faces," Johnson said. "Sheriff's deputies were able to impact children in a positive way and show them how connected our law enforcement officers are to this community. We appreciate all the school resource officers who keep this tradition going. It truly is an honor to participate in this event every year."