150 sign up for cop program

Todd G. Higdon

To accommodate all of the children that will participate in the seventh annual “Shop with a Cop” program at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Neosho Wal-Mart, Neosho Police Sgt. Dan Cook has raised the monetary goal.

“We now have 150 children who have signed up for the event,” Cook said. “Our original goal was $15,000, with 115 children. But now, we have raised that to $17,000.”

Cook noted that the charity is around $3,000 shy of the new goal.

Even though the police department is not taking any more applications for the program, there is still time for residents and businesses to donate to this cause. Donation deadline is Dec. 14

The program is open to children ages 2 to 14 in Newton and McDonald counties.

“The main purpose is to provide Christmas shopping trips for underprivileged children in Newton and McDonald counties,” said Cook.

Last year, the program served 98 children and raised $14,250. More than 400 children have participated in Shop With A Cop since 2000. Last year’s event saw the largest number of participants, Cook said. When the program started seven years ago, they had 24 kids.

Confirmation letters for those who were chosen will go out in the mail on Monday.

“After they receive the confirmation letter, they just have to mail the confirmation back and they are good to go,” Cook said.

On the day of the shopping, each of the children will have a specified amount of money to spend. They are then escorted by friendly police officers, firemen and other emergency personnel throughout the store. The children can spend the money on toys, clothing, music, food, and more

“We have seen some of the children who will solely spend the money on themselves and some who will spend it on other family members,” said Cook.

Cook is also asking for volunteers during the shopping day. Those wanting to help may contact Cook at NPD at 451-8012 by Dec. 19.

Not only do the children look forward to it, but also so do the law enforcement officers.

“The law enforcement officers look forward to it every year because it is a chance that they can affect the child’s life in a positive way, give a positive image for their department,” said Cook. “They also get to spend some quality, one-on-one time with the kids that they don’t normally see. And they can make a difference in a child’s life and also in a family’s lives.”

And both the children and the law enforcement officers share another common bond – smiles, as children and cops alike can be seen smiling up and down the aisles of Wal-Mart.

After the children get finished shopping, they are treated to a McDonald's Happy Meal in the restaurant's Wal-Mart location.

Anyone wishing to donate to this year's program should send cash, check or money order made to: Neosho Police Shop with a Cop. All donations should be mailed to the Neosho Police Department c/o Sgt. Dan Cook, 221 W. Brook St., Neosho, Mo., 64850. For more information, contact Sgt. Dan Cook at 451-8012.

Neosho Daily News