Bainbridge Public Safety makes dreams come true during annual Shop with a Cop event

Published 3:58 pm Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday morning, kids and families huddled inside WalMart as they anxiously awaited their name to be read out so they could begin the fun process of shopping with a cop.

For the past three years, Bainbridge Public Safety has teamed up with Salvation Army to allow children in need to shop with a cop, and receive the gifts on Christmas Day from Santa Claus.

Each child is given approximately $100 to spend on whatever they want excluding food and drinks. Parents join in to help their child make “wise” decisions and not spend everything on toys, but to get necessities such as coats, gloves and socks as well.

Once the shopping is over, the families and their officer head back to Bainbridge Public Safety where the officers and their “elves” help wrap the gifts to put under the tree. Kids are not the only ones who receive a gift, BPS sends the parents home with a basket of meat, side dishes and dessert that the whole family can enjoy for Christmas dinner.

While the joy can easily be seen on the children’s faces, officers really take this time to spread Christmas cheer for children who may not often see it. Officers allow the children to go overboard at checkout, and sometimes pay for gifts the children really wanted themselves.

Administrative assistant Janette Mowry said they have extra money in place in the event that a child does go over the allotted limit by a few dollars, but some officers want to take care of it, because they’ve built a bond with the child and don’t mind spending their money on them.

Mowry said it is the true spirit of the season.

Children around Bainbridge will wake up Christmas morning with gifts they never thought possible under the tree thanks to the program this year; some will even have their own bike for the first time.