Last year, Fairfield police officers and employees shopped at Meijer on South Gilmore Drive for Dougie & Ray’s Shop with a Hero program to help children within the Fairfield Schools. This year, Dougie & Ray’s have included the Fairfield city and township police departments, school district, and local business leaders. The charity and Meijer are donating money to for the local heroes to shop for needy children who likely weren’t going to receive any presents this Christmas. FILE

Fairfield city, township leaders will shop for dozens of kids in need

Dougie and Ray’s Shop with a Hero program will have, for now, 35 police officers, firefighters and community leaders shop for about 50 children within the school district. Ted McDaniel, founder of Doug and Ray’s, said both the number of shoppers and the kids and families being helped could increase by the time they shop at the South Gilmore Road Meijer on Monday.

This year’s program is larger than last year, when about 10 Fairfield police officers and staff shopped for several children.

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“We’ll have Meijer filled with heroes of the community, whether they be a business owner, firefighter or police officer, city or township government employee,” McDaniel said. “My thought is to get everybody out and shop, have fun and it’s for a good cause.”

Dougie and Ray’s and Meijer are footing the bill for the shopping, he said. Fairfield police Officer Doug Day said it’s an easy decision to participate.

“We’ve been tied in with Ted and his charity for awhile,” he said. “We said we’d help and it blew up from there.”

The department tries to attend or participate in whatever Dougie and Ray’s organizes because “it goes to kids in our city, so it’s kind of hard not to do it.”

Fairfield Twp. Assistant Police Chief Capt. Doug Lanier said helping underprivileged families “is the most crucial thing” about the program as they may not get to enjoy Christmas as other families do this time of year.

“This is nothing but a positive program” that highlights the compassion first responders and area leaders have for the community, he said.

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Fairfield Deputy Fire Chief Tom Wagner and Fairfield Twp. Fire Chief Timothy Thomas said they’re involved because it’s an extension of their roles as public servants.

“It’s giving back to the community,” Wagner said. “We’re public servants, and it’s not just about interacting with the public in emergencies.”

Thomas said they participate in anything that helps the community.

“Any time we can help those that are less fortunate, especially during the holidays, is part of what our mission is,” he said. “The goal is to help our community, and this is one way that we can do that.”

Those participating feel the program has even more room to grow next year and beyond.

“If it expands next year, then awesome,” McDaniel said. “It’s just about keeping it going, and make it that’s something part of the city and the township every year.”

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