Cops shop to help county’s youthPublished 9:52am Thursday, December 13, 2012
SOUTH POINT — Next Monday law enforcement will descend on the Walmart in South Point, but not to apprehend criminals. Rather they will be there to bring joy to some of the children in Lawrence County who otherwise wouldn’t have as bright a Christmas as others.
That’s when the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and the office of adult probation team up for the annual Shop with a Cop.
“We started this three or four years ago,” Sgt. Chris Smith of the OSHP, said. “The first year we helped 10.”
Now with assistance from the Coal Grove police, community donations and a special contribution from an anonymous donor the event will reach out to at least 30 young people in the county.
Monday evening the officers will meet at Walmart and team up with the children and go shopping for the next 90 minutes.
“If they need bedding, if they need clothes, we try to get the essential stuff,” Smith said. “Then it’s toys or what the kids want. What they need and what they want.”
Right now, the officers plan to spend $180 on each child.
“We work with children’s services, the school systems, grandparents and various children that our officers have found throughout the year,” Smith said.
This year the organizers have teamed up with other law enforcement agencies, including the Coal Grove Police, on fundraisers such as selling homemade apple butter.
The Huntington Police Department made a donation from its annual motorcycle ride as well as a contribution by the Ironton Police FOP. There is a raffle for a 24-inch flat screen television to be given away the night of the event. But one of the largest single donations came from someone who shuns the limelight.
“We had a donation of $3,000 to our program from a local business,” Smith said. “He wants to be called a Secret Santa. This is someone who is doing this out of his heart.”
That donation has allowed the officers to add more children to the shopping event.
Sheriff Jeff Lawless said being a part of the event gives his staff a sense of pride in helping those less fortunate.
“It is one of the good things to be a law enforcement officer, to do something rewarding rather than fighting the criminal element every day,” Lawless said. “This brings a smile to our faces.”