Christmas was merrier for 70 Charles County youngsters who participated in Shop with a Cop on Dec. 7 with police and correctional officers from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), the Maryland State Police, the La Plata Police Department and the Maryland Transit Authority Police.
Shop with a Cop pairs the officers with children from low-income families with officers who treat them to a spirited day of shopping and other holiday festivities. The CCSO and the Charles County Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 24 host the event, which is in its sixth year.
“Nothing embraces the Christmas spirit more than watching children select the toys and books on their wish lists and making sure they have winter clothes and other necessities, which are especially important during the cold winter months,” said Sheriff Rex Coffey. “I look forward to participating in this event every year and I am very proud of the officers who volunteer to make this day special for these children.”
The day begins when the officers transport the children from their homes to the Elks Lodge in Waldorf for breakfast. Then, in a mile-long convoy of police cruisers, the officers drive the children to Wal-Mart in Waldorf, allowing the youngsters to operate the lights and sirens along the way. After arriving at Wal-Mart, the officers and children shop for gifts. Each child is allotted $200, half of which they must spend on necessities like clothing, shoes and winter coats. The other half is reserved for toys, movies and other fun items. In true Christmas spirit, some of the children spend their “fun money” on gifts for family members. When the children finish their shopping, the officers return them to the Elks Lodge for lunch and a special visit from Santa while volunteers wrap the presents. Finally, the officers return the children home with their presents and full bellies.
The event is made possible by the support of Wal-Mart, which opens its doors to the special shoppers and dedicates two Shop with a Cop registers; the Elks Lodge, which donates the use of its facility and provides breakfast and lunch; KNC Marketing, which donates commemorative T-shirts to each participant; and Cold Stone Creamery, which serves ice cream after lunch. Community donations help fund the shopping budget.
Officers Bobby Long, Colby Shaw and Jeff Feldman introduced the program in Charles County in 2008 and have organized it each year since. In addition to accepting donations on behalf of the program, they raise money by hosting fundraisers, including an FOP Chili Cook-Off each fall. They raised about $15,000 in 2013.
To donate to Shop with a Cop 2014, mail a check or money order to Charles County Shop With A Cop Inc., P.O. Box 160, Bryantown, MD 20617 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shop with a Copy 2013 Photo Gallery (via Facebook)