Fundraising efforts are under way for the annual Shop with a Cop program, which pairs local police officers with children for a night of Christmas shopping and fun.
The Shop with a Cop program is a charity that provides children being assisted through four non-profit agencies with $100 gifts card. Local law enforcement officers then take those children on a shopping spree, where they help them purchase toys, clothes and shoes.
Last year, about $4,500 was raised for the Shop with a Cop event, so 45 children staying in Hope House, with Family Promise of Shawnee, at the Shawnee Rescue Mission or Project Safe, were able to participate and have a Christmas they might not have enjoyed otherwise.
The program, made possible by Ball Pipe and Supply in Shawnee, and also include donations from area benefactors and those whose have donated scrap metal to the business for the cause.
Ball Pipe and Supply buys scrap iron and metal and other metals, and anyone wanting to help the Shop with a Cop program can gather up those types of items around their home and take them to the facility.
Items for the Shop with a Cop program are accepted during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Bill Staggs, who is general manager of Ball Pipe and Supply, said those wanting to help the program can designate their drop offs for the Shop with a Cop program.
“We’re already seeing a few people and quite a few have made contributions,” Staggs said, hoping they can exceed last year’s fundraising total and help even more kids this year.
“Hopefully we can make it bigger and better,” he said.
Staggs, who said the program is a way for them to reach out to the community, said, “It’s such a privilege to participate” and they’re looking forward to a night of shopping in December.
“Seeing parents get to shop with their kids is pretty heartwarming,” Staggs added.
Last year, officers from many local agencies volunteered for the night out with the kids, each bringing smiles and fun to the children during the shopping spree. In some case, it appeared many of the officers were having just has much fun picking out toys as the children did.
“This is a heartwarming experience for those that have volunteered in the past to help out,” said Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz.
The program also shows the kids a side of cops that they may not be aware of, he said.
The Shop with a Cop program began in 2009 by the Shawnee Leadership Class under the city’s Chamber of Commerce, but then went dormant in 2010.
Page 2 of 2 - In 2011, Staggs learned about the Shop with a Cop event in Oklahoma City through the Oklahoma Recyclers Association for which they are members, so they worked to get the event relaunched in Shawnee.