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Shop with a Cop offers hope to children

I saw her as soon as I walked in. She was sitting on the floor, right next to her mother, their backs against the sales desk. She’d been waiting for this day for a while, and was really excited about being able to get Christmas gifts for her mom and her two younger brothers.
This little girl had a very kind heart, and really didn’t need anything for herself. There wasn’t much money since her mom had lost her job, and what they did have had to be spent on necessities like food, rent and electric.
Then “he” walked in. Her eyes got as big as saucers. It was really Santa! He had a big, booming voice, but it didn’t scare her one little bit. She could tell from his eyes that he was very kind and really cared about all the children.
She was on her feet in an instant and ran up to Santa, throwing her arms around his knees. He was quite tall, and she was small for her age. Santa bent down and gave her a hug and wished her a Merry Christmas. Very quietly, she said, “Thank you for doing this. It means the world to me.” The little girl had been waiting to see Santa and to meet her very own “cop” for the evening.
Barbara Knight
This is but one story from one of our most important programs for children.
Shop with a Cop starts at the Jonesborough Visitors Center with 100+ kids and a pizza party.
Santa arrives, makes the rounds to talk with each of them and gives them candy canes.
Soon, limousines, sometimes escorted by police, pull up to whisk them away to the Walmart store where they can buy anything they want for Christmas using a debit card provided by the Shop with a Cop program.
Interestingly enough, most choose to buy Christmas gifts for their siblings, caregivers and maybe a little something for themselves, all with the help and supervision of their “cop” for the evening.
Meanwhile, volunteers are wrapping presents for each of these kids while they shop. Gifts are then given to their parents for Christmas morning.
Shop with a Cop depends completely on donations from the community.
The donations received provide the financial support so the children can be given the money to buy gifts for Christmas, and so volunteers can provide gifts for each of the children.
First responders from police, fire, Park Service, etc. come from miles around and volunteer support for this program on their own time.
This program works on many levels, especially during these times.
It builds trust, a bond between the kids and the officers in a positive setting; it builds their self-esteem by allowing them to do something for others; it lets them know there are a lot of good people in the world who really care, and it ensures they will have gifts for Christmas.
Many parents have said “Without this, our family would not have had a Christmas.”
Donations can be made to “Jonesborough Shop with a Cop,” Jonesborough Public Safety Department, 123 Boone St., Jonesborough, TN 37659 or by mailing a check to the Jonesborough Kiwanis Club, P.O. Box 826, Jonesborough, TN 37659.
The cutoff for mailed donations is Thursday, Dec.10.
You may hand deliver donations to the Public Safety Office through Dec.14.