RIVERDALE -- It felt like Christmas had come already Saturday as more than 70 children spent their morning with local heroes, shopping for themselves and their families.
Smiling Walmart employees waited as law enforcement officers from all over Weber County pulled into the store parking lot with sirens blaring and lights flashing, accompanied by children the officers have dealt with through their line of work.
These kids wouldn't be getting a Christmas otherwise.
"It's fun to watch the kids," said Walmart training manager Kristen Love. She is always amazed by the generosity of the kids, who usually end up buying more gifts for their families than for themselves.
As the children piled out of the cars, Santa came rolling up in a Bearcat armored police vehicle with "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" ringing from the loud speaker.
Children clapped, smiled and tried to see Santa's every move as he found a spot to sit and talk with the kids inside the store.
Some opted to sit on his lap first, while others were eager to start shopping, many taking their law enforcement officer by the hand as they walked up and down the aisles, pointing to items that needed a closer look before being put in the shopping cart.
Others sat right inside the shopping cart, pointing out what gifts to add around them.
This is the eighth year for the "Shop With a Hero" program. The biggest donor for the event is Bonneville High School. Students raised more than $10,000 for the program this year, and the student body and class officers also attended Saturday's event.
The officers as well as Bonneville students treated the children to breakfast at Village Inn in Roy before shopping.
Bonneville student body vice president Hailey Daniels clapped as the students pulled into the parking lot. She and fellow students laughed and jumped up and down in the cold, waiting to help with the shopping. The students also wrapped the gifts the children selected.
Daniels said students raise funds for the event all year. They usually raise about $8,000, but this year, they were thrilled to raise more than $10,000, which meant more kids could be helped.
"It's so awesome. It's the highlight of my season," Daniels said.
She said each student is given $100 to spend, but sometimes the police officers kick in more money so the children can get the things they desire most.
Roy Officer Kyle Christensen was being guided around the store by 5-year-old Camilla. She said she was very excited to be shopping with Christensen.
"I want to get one of those toy kitchens and those little cars you ride in," she said with a big smile, her red hair bouncing as she walked.
Christensen smiled as she talked. "I love seeing their faces," he said. "I love dealing with them in a positive way."