As we embark on our 8th annual Shop with a Cop event and our second trip to Wal-Mart in Wooster we are extending an invitation to other Wayne county communities to join us. The date of the event is Saturday Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. at the Wooster Wal-Mart.
Any Wayne County public safety organization (police, fire, EMS, social worker, probation officer, jailer, etc) that wants to participate with us on this exciting day is welcomed to do so. We encourage other agencies to partner with their home school districts to identify children who would benefit from this experience. After the partnership has been established, it is simply a matter of raising funds. For every child that the district wants to send shopping the school and/or public safety organization just needs to raise $100 to cover the cost of the $100 gift card. We have established a raffle in Orrville to help raise funds and we will be more than happy to provide raffle tickets at no cost to agencies that need help raising funds. We allow the sale of raffle tickets right up until the day of the Shop with a Cop event. In addition, donations are a big part of the fundraising.
The children are selected with help from the school district. Each organization can decide what other activities, if any , they would like to incorporate into this day. For instance, at Orrville we host the children for a breakfast before we depart to Wal-Mart. We kinda make a big deal of it by having a large caravan of emergency vehicles parade through town. AFTER the event we meet back at the school cafeteria for a pizza party and, with the help of civilian volunteers, wrap presents for the kids.
Other communities do NOT have to mirror our activities before and after the shopping event. In fact, we suggest that they put their own stamp on their program. What we ARE encouraging other communities to consider is to do what we did when we first started. START SMALL. Tag along this year. Maybe only bring a few children for this first year (that’s what we did). Keep it simple until you get to see what an awesome experience this is for the kids AND for members of your school/organization. But get on board. You will be surprised at how fast the ball starts rolling and the amazing level of community support for your program.
We want to emphasize this point–the name of the program is “Shop with a Cop” but it is NOT limited to only police officers. We rely heavily on our firefighters, EMS and other support folks and even their immediate families to make this happen. You can do the same in your community. We would love to have anyone from the Wayne County criminal justice/public safety community participate with us and especially plant seeds in your home school district to grow your own program in your home community.
If you are interested in starting your own local Shop with a Cop program or would like more information about volunteering in ours please call Capt. Matt Birkbeck at 330 684-5025 or email email@example.com. Do not delay though. We need to place our order for the raffle tickets very soon and need to have an idea of how many to order.
If you are a member of a Wayne County school district pick up the phone and encourage your local public safety folks to consider taking part in this program with us on Saturday December 13.