by Mindy East
Monday evening, law enforcement officers from Humboldt, Trenton and Milan, along with the Gibson County Sheriff’s Department and Humboldt Fire Department, raided Humboldt Walmart. But not to make arrests; instead for the 2019 Shop with a Cop event.
On December 16, local children got to be a part of a Christmas miracle that was made possible by local businesses and individuals that donated to Shop with a Cop.
The night started with a pizza party in the basement of the Humboldt Municipal Building. Children and their families all gathered with participating first responder agencies. East Elementary Principal Brittnie Doaks and counselor Misty Lewis of Humboldt City School were also among those enjoying the evening. The children who participated in Shop with a Cop were selected through the Family Resource Program at the school.
“Shop with a Cop is one of our most favorite events of the school year. We are thankful to the Humboldt Police Department for allowing us to participate in such and amazing project. The children are chosen with love and understanding Through Family Resource. Twenty of our children had a Christmas experience they will never forget,” said Doaks and Lewis.
To everyone’s surprise, Santa Claus even stopped by to visit the children before the shopping began. Soon after, with full bellies, they all loaded up in vehicles and headed out.
The line of first responder vehicles looked like a train of blue lights going down Central Ave. into the Walmart parking lot. Upon entering Walmart with empty shopping carts and smiling faces, everyone scattered throughout the store for the fun to begin. Most of the children went directly to the toys and clothes.
It did not take long for the shopping carts to fill with Christmas wishes of toys, clothes, shoes and games. There was even a young gentleman that got fresh flowers for his mother.
Each child received a Walmart gift card loaded with $180. They received $100 to go for necessities and $80 to spend on whatever they would like. With the help of their designated officer, each child got all their wants and needs for the holiday season.
Walmart associates opened two registers just for the cause and everything was tax exempt. Sgt. Jonathan Wilson distributed additional funds at checkout when they were needed.
“This year was a huge success and I would like to see it grow yearly, not only for the kids, but for the people involved,” said Wilson. “I appreciate to other departments helping this come together and making it a great night for all involved.”
Shop with the Cop gives officers the opportunity to engage with the community in a positive way, while understanding the importance of working closely with the community and giving back to the children.
If you missed the deadline and would like to donate to Shop with a Cop, Wilson said they are always taking donations for this event and any funds donated or left over will go to fund the following year’s Shop with a Cop event.
The aftermath of the shopping left smiling faces on all that were involved and even those local shoppers that got to witness the pure joy of children’s laughter.