Shop With A Cop event set
A group of 125 children from the Mountain Home area will bring some holiday joy to their families later this week during an event that helps them share in the spirit of giving.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in Mountain Home on Saturday, the local Shop With A Cop program helps children of families with extreme financial hardships buy gifts for their loved ones in time for Christmas, according to organizers.
The children participating in this year's program were preselected by local social service agencies.
Shop With A Cop begins early that morning at the Mountain Home Elks Lodge when children are paired up with hundreds of representatives from city, county and state law enforcement and emergency response agencies along with Air Force and Army National Guard representatives.
Before they go shopping, the children and their chaperones will receive a hot meal courtesy of the local McDonald's restaurants along with entertainment by local music teachers.
Following breakfast, a fleet of police cars and fire rescue vehicles will escort the children to the local Wal-Mart. With gift cards in hand and their chaperones in tow, these youngsters have enough money on hand to purchase gifts for themselves as well as others in their immediate families.
Money used to support the program came from donations from local residents and businesses throughout the year along with a grant from Wal-Mart. People can also make last-minute donations to Shop With A Cop by speaking to any teller at Pioneer Federal Credit Union.
Organizers ensure that the donations they collect each year includes enough money set aside in case donations start to decline. This ensures that they can continue to support the same number of children the following year.
The Shop With A Cop initiative started here in 1996 and helped bring some holiday joy to 30 children in the local community. Over the years, it's grown to helping the children of dozens of financially strapped families.