Families in need of assistance this holiday season are being asked to submit their information as soon as possible to the local “Shop with a Cop” program.
“We try to find those who are in most need and work with the other organizations so as not to duplicate services but to help as many as we can,” said Jerry Sawmiller, who serves as chair for the annual holiday assistance program.
Sawmiller is a detective sergeant with the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.
While the program provides clothes and toys for 100 children each year, Sawmiller said unfortunately they must turn some children down.
“We went up to that level several years ago and it’s about the max we can do,” Sawmiller said.
Due to the nature of the program and its limited funding, organizers strive to provide assistance to those most in need.
Donations throughout the year from individu-
als and organizations, as well as some fundraising, provide for the program which pairs approximately 30 officers from throughout the county with children ages 2 to 11 to shop for needed clothing items and a few toys for Christmas.
Law enforcement officers from the county have been helping making Christmas brighter for local children for 17 years through “Shop with a Cop.”
“One of the things we try to make everyone understand is there is another side to law enforcement officers,” Sawmiller said. “We are here to help out in the community, too. This gives us a chance to give back.”
The Auglaize County Fraternal Order of Police, which organizes “Shop with a Cop,” also provides for a scholarship fund with donations and money raised through an annual chili cookoff and golf outing. More than $10,000 is designated for “Shop with a Cop” each year.
As listed on a program application, the purpose of “Shop with a Cop” is to assist families with limited financial resources at Christmas time. It also provides children with a positive image of law enforcement officers as they take the children shopping for the items.
Applications include basic personal information, including names and ages of children, who must be present the day of the shopping trip. Employment information is also requested as well as where else assistance has been applied and a brief explanation of why assistance is being requested.
A decision on those selected to participate is to be made by Dec. 2 with shopping trips scheduled for Dec. 17 at the Wapakoneta Wal-Mart.