Mary Lou Reynolds says she feels happy to donate money for a cause she believes in.
The seven-year resident of Washington Commons Retirement Residence contributed $20 to the Day With a Deputy program, which Columbia County deputies hold to help needy children.
"I'm happy to be here," she said. "I feel like this cause that they have is certainly one that warms your heart."
The program allows children in need to spend a day before Christmas shopping with deputies at Wal-Mart.
Washington Commons residents raised more than $350 and presented the funds to five deputies at the Evans retirement community during an appreciation luncheon recognizing members of the sheriff's office.
"It's important for us to work with and have a good rapport with our community, and this is just another way of doing that," said sheriff's Lt. Patricia Champion, of the department's Community Services Division.
She said she received a call from Washington Commons wanting to help raise money for a project.
"We thought Day With a Deputy would be the best way, because that money does go strictly back to children in our community," Champion said.
The luncheon was held in conjunction with National Police Week.
"We just want to show our appreciation for the job that they do protecting us here in Columbia County," said Holley Howard, the activities director at Washington Commons.
Howard said residents of Washington Commons like to help, and she expects additional funds will be raised for the program.
"It's great," said Patricia Benedetto, a Washington Commons resident and mother of sheriff's Capt. Dan Barnett.
"I think that everybody enjoys having them (the deputies). It's a very worthwhile project."
Reynolds seemed to agree with Benedetto.
"It's something to me that is very rewarding, and I think it's great that the sheriff's department has taken on projects such as this," Reynolds said. "Also, they've been so gracious and open to us out here."
To donate to the Day With a Deputy program, call sheriff's Deputy Krista Johnson at (706) 541-3985.
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