On Wednesday, Dec. 18, one of the familiar sights and sounds of the holiday season will return to Washington for the 23rd consecutive year.
Sirens will blare, red and blue lights will flash, and over 100 area law enforcement officers and firefighters, along with Daviess County Probation Department and Community Corrections. spouses, friends, and other guest shoppers will be in the Christmas spirit. Why? Because they will be escorting the children from area Head Start schools and Kidstuff preschool at Four Rivers to this year’s annual F.O.P. Cops and Kids.
Cops and Kids has grown every year since its beginning in 1991. Last year over $20,000 was donated to the Fraternal Order of Police and spent on the 170 children of three Head Start schools in Daviess and Martin counties and Four Rivers preschool.
The donations come from are fraternal organizations, businesses, clubs, individuals, Walmart Foundation, and some area school children.
The money donated is spent on a wide variety of clothing from underwear to winter coats or whatever the child may need. The wants and needs of the children, along with their sizes, are compiled on a master list days in advance. Individual cards are then given to the police office or firefighter who is shopping with that child. After the cops and kids pick out what the child needs, then to the toy department they go to spend the rest of the money reserved for that child. Last year approximately $125 was spent on each child, not including treats and lunch.
After the shopping is complete, the caravan will move from Walmart to the Moose Lodge where the children and their escorts will be treated to Happy Meals and other sandwiches and drinks donated my McDonald’s and Subway of Washington. As an added treat again this year, Scoops will be providing ice cream for all to enjoy for dessert. Santa will be along on the trip again this year and will distribute treats while he visits with the children after they have had time to eat.
To complete the day the children will have a police escort back to school. The packages will be sorted by officers and school staff to assure the children have the right goodies and gifts. The officers and other volunteers will then wish their new little friends Happy Holidays before they depart. This experience will be a good memory in the hearts of everyone who participates in this year’s Cops and Kids.
Donations may be made to F.O.P. Cops and Kids in the Washington area to Steve Riney or Chief Mike Healy at the Washington Police Department. In other areas of Daviess County, contact Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit of the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department; in Odon contact Marshal Steve Barker or Deputy Marshal Scott Noble; in Martin County contact Chief Kelly Rayhill at Loogootee Police Department or Sheriff Rob Street at the Martin County Sheriff’s Department in Shoals.