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Shop with a Cop receives donation

The Shop with a Cop program in western Stanly is off to a running start.

To kick off the program’s fundraising season, Wal-Mart donated $2,500 to organizers. The money will go toward purchasing Christmas gifts for children whose families might not otherwise be able to afford them.

“(It’s) a program that allows police officers to shop with children,” said School Resource Officer Brittany Tucker of the Locust Police Department.

All those participating — including officers, EMS responders and firefighters from across the west Stanly area — are paired with a child, she detailed. They then all go to the store together in a motorcade of flashing police cars and firetrucks to buy clothes and toys for Christmas.

“The idea of the program is to provide assistance to families who can’t afford gifts for their children while building a relationship between the community and police officers,” Tucker said.

Since starting the program three years ago, the officers and other emergency responders have taken the children to the Wal-Mart in Locust to do their shopping, organizers noted.

Over the years, their relationship with the management there has grown. So to show support for the kids coming through their doors each year, Wal-Mart decided to make the first donation to the program this year.

“It was a very generous gift,” said Locust Councilman Larry Baucom. “We feel very fortunate to have it.”

Overall, organizers hope to help 15-20 kids this year. Each year they usually get $200-$300 to spend on gifts, half for clothes, half for toys or other items.

Last year, organizers reached the top end of that goal, with 20 kids participating.

“We’re glad to see this program doing so well,” Baucom said.

Those who are interested in making a donation can contact SRO Brittany Tucker or Officer Kevin O’Connor at the Locust Police Department at 704-888-4744.

West Stanly Christian Ministries is also managing the funds for the Shop with a Cop program. They can be contacted at 704-888-5149.

Shannon Beamon is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.