Shop with a Cop and Firefighter

Police, fire department host annual shopping event

Story by Peyton Sims, culture editor

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Firefighters turn around the block, sounding their sirens. Kids can’t keep from smiling as they anticipate the morning that lies before them. On Dec. 3, Shop with a Cop and Firefighter was held at Target where police officers and firefighters united with children from ages 4-14 in the community to make their Christmas wishes come true. 

“It just gives us an opportunity to help with kids that may not have as good of a Christmas, and it’s a lot of fun for us too,” Nash fire chief Stephen Rogers said. “We get as much out of it as they do. We look forward to it every year, it’s something that I have done personally for as long as they’ve been doing it. It’s the season of giving anyway, so it’s nice to see that [the kids] get it too.”

Shop with a cop is an annual event that allows children that may lack access to Christmas presents to shop with police officers and firefighters at Target. They work directly with CPS for this event, where children are either recommended for Shop with a Cop or are children that CPS has previously worked with.

“It’s an amazing experience watching these kids and watching the police and fire department interact with these guys. I got to shop with Ethan, and he absolutely loves Pokemons. We got several things Pokemon, a few cars and a Nerf gun. His little brother ended up with jackets, scarves and gloves, so I think they did well,” Texarkana sports manager Ross Cowling said.

It’s awesome to think that we were able to meet some of his needs and let him know there’s others that care about him as well.”

— Ross Cowling

 

In the past, the children were given a budget of $120, but this year, they were given a $150 budget. Target will also be providing them with a 20 percent coupon, so technically, the kids can spend up to $180. The children are assigned to an officer and will be able to leave Target with anything inside of their price range. Also, the amount of kids participating has grown this year from 100 kids to 113. 

“The main goal of this event is to make Christmas an opportunity for some of these kids that might not otherwise have that. We were able to increase the number of kids and amount the child has to spend this year,” Public Information Officer Shawn Vaughn said. “There’s heart behind all of this. The volunteers come out here to make everything work and we raise money, which is obviously a big part of it, but having one-on-one interactions with the kids is the heart and soul of this whole endeavor.” 

Different organizations came together throughout the year in order to raise money to make this event possible. From donations and fundraisers to small concerts held at Scottie’s Grill, Shop with a Cop wouldn’t be possible without the help of the community. 

“Target provides funds, gift bags and different things like that for the children. Anytime you get to help someone that may not be able to help themselves at that particular time makes you feel really great,” Executive of Human Resources Robert Johnson said. “These kids are probably not always in favorable situations so seeing smiles on their faces and the gleam in their eyes when they look at the toys is amazing.”