First Responder Support, a Columbia nonprofit that aims to promote goodwill between first responders and the community, will host an upcoming “Shop With a Hero” (SWAH) event at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 12, at Walmart, 1201 Grindstone Parkway.
One of the highlights of this year’s SWAH campaign is a video featuring Shaunda Hamilton, who is the co-founder of Boone County Community Against Violence. Shaunda’s story is about the tragic loss of her daughter, Nadria, to violence in September 2019. Shaunda and Boone County Community Against Violence will identify and invite families from around Boone County for the Shop With A Hero event.
The event is made possible by a pair of $3,000 grants from two local Walmart stores.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Walmart for their unwavering support, which will significantly contribute to the success of SWAH 2023,” said Rick Rowden, spokesman for First Responder Support. “To achieve our campaign’s $6,000 budget, we’re counting on our incredible community to rally alongside us.”
First Responder Support has also received contributions from the Columbia Police Officers’ Association (CPOA) and Columbia Professional Firefighters. The Columbia Professional Firefighters will have equipment on site at Walmart during the SWAH event for kids to enjoy.
Rowden said Boone County Community Against Violence will identify and choose twelve Boone County families to be the recipients of SWAH 2023. Each branch of first responders, including the police, fire, EMT, and dispatch services will select ambassadors, each dedicated to serving the selected families during the event. The highlight of SWAH 2023 will be the presentation of $500 Walmart gift cards to each of the selected families.
The special event aims to unite first responders, families, and the community for “an unforgettable experience,” Rowden said. He added, “We look forward to the continued support of our community and sponsors as we work together to bring joy, support, and hope to deserving families during the holiday season.”
Text “SWAH” to 243725 or visit onecau.se/swah