Bainbridge Shop with a Cop sees most successful year yet
Published 8:12 pm Friday, December 19, 2014
Every parent enjoys seeing his or her child’s face light up after opening a gift on Christmas.
Bainbridge Public Safety helped give that Christmas spirit to four local families on Friday with “Shop with a Cop.”
Between the four families were 11 children who got the chance to go Christmas shopping despite financial hardships.
BPS partners with Decatur County schools, Division of Family and Children Services and Decatur County Family Connections to find families that need a little extra help during the holiday season.
BPS raised more than $5,000 this year for the program, providing gifts and groceries for the families.
Each child partnered up with a BPS officer and Wal-Mart employee to buy gifts for family members while parents shopped for groceries and necessities.
BPS officer Charles Strickland helped with the program for the second year in a row and said that he’s enjoyed it both times, but wishes it could help everyone.
“You do what you can, but you wish you could do it for everyone, because so many need the help,” Strickland said.
BPS raised the money for this year’s event through donations from local businesses and individuals, including $1,900 that was raised through Bainbridge Leisure Services’ Jingle Bell Jog earlier this month, said BPS Director Eric Miller.
“It’s tremendously awesome,” Miller said. “This is a great program that lets us help create a better relationship with the community, because we do more than just arrest people and write citations.”
Donations kept pouring in after BPS hit its goal, and the overflow will be put toward next year to hopefully increase the number of families who can participate.
“The hard part is the wrapping,” said PSO Darren Heard as he loaded the unwrapped gifts into the front seat of a fire truck.
After purchasing gifts, BPS took the group to Uncle Bill’s Pizzeria for lunch before heading back to BPS headquarters for the wrapping frenzy.
The scene was chaotic as children of all ages worked to wrap their gifts with help of apparently inexperienced BPS officers.
“I’m great with patch jobs,” said Investigator Mark Esquivel as he covered the last exposed section of a box.
Before the day was over, Santa came and helped distribute the gifts, allowing each kid to open one. The kids laughed with excitement as they opened their Frozen dolls, remote-controlled trucks and Lego sets.