The blue makes it brighter (WITH GALLERY)

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 16, 2023

Shop With a Cop aids dozens of children for Christmas

BURLINGTON — For more than two dozen children from Lawrence County, Christmas came early on Monday, thanks to the work of local law enforcement.

The annual Shop With a Cop event took place at Walmart in Burlington, benefiting families from throughout the county.

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Sgt. Derek Malone, with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who coordinates the shopping effort, said seven families, one from each school district in the county, were present, with about 27 children between them.

Malone said school counselors recommend children in need or the program, in which they are paired with an officer and taken shopping.

Needs come first from the budget allotted to each child, with the shopping beginning in the clothing aisles, then to things such as bedding.

They wrap up in the toy department, where the children get to pick out items themselves.

“This is entirely funded by donations,” Malone said, noting that the Highways Patrol and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office collect from private donors year-round in anticipation for the date.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless said there were members there from every law enforcement department in the county, from state and county, to all of the villages and the City of Ironton.

As organizers point out each year, not only does the program provide for the families each year, but it also creates a positive interaction with law enforcement for the children.

Malone said the program has been taking place for nearly three decades.

Lawless aid they are always taking contributions and anyone interested can contact the Highway Patrol or the Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re always looking for donations to keep this program going,” he said.

Malone said after the shopping was complete, the officers, children and families would be going to Casa Grande in South Point, where the