By Andrea McCann
Area law enforcement officials, firefighters, and their friends and family will bring the Christmas spirit to children from Headstart and Kidstuff preschools on Dec. 20.
Sirens will blare and red and blue lights will flash as more than 100 “guest shoppers” escort the children to Walmart for the 22nd consecutive Cops & Kids, originally known as Shop With a Cop. The wants and needs of each child are compiled on individual cards, along with their sizes, and given to the police officer or firefighter shopping for each respective child. After selecting needed clothing, from underwear to winter coats, the shoppers will be off to the toy department.
Donated funds from area fraternal organizations, businesses, clubs, Walmart Foundation, area schoolchildren and individuals are used to make the purchases. Cops & Kids has grown every year since its inception in 1991, according to project chairman Steve Riney. Last year more than $18,000 was donated to the Fraternal Order of Police and spent on 169 children from three Headstart schools in Daviess and Martin counties and the Four Rivers preschool. Riney said approximately $100 was spent on each child.
In addition to the shopping spree, the children will be treated to lunch, fruit and candy at the Moose Lodge. Happy Meals, other sandwiches and drinks will be donated by McDonald’s and Subway of Washington. Scoops will provide ice cream for dessert.
Santa will be on hand to distribute fruit and candy while he visits with the children after lunch, according to Riney, and McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Prevention Pup will assist.
To complete the day, the children will have a police escort back to school, where their packages will be sorted to assure the children receive the correct gifts.
“This experience will be a good memory in the hearts of everyone who participates in this year’s Cops & Kids,” Riney said.
Donations may be made to “FOP Cops & Kids” and given to Riney, Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit or Deputy Steve Cox, or dropped off at the Washington Police Department in Daviess County. In Martin County, donations may be given to Loogootee Police Chief Kelly Rayhill or Sheriff Rob Street in Shoals.
-- Special to the Times Herald