This holiday season, Waupaca County deputies and city police officers will take about 20 children on a shopping spree.
Called Shop with a Cop, the program is looking for children to participate, volunteers to help wrap gifts, and donors to help cover the costs.
“The main focus is to help underprivileged children who can’t buy presents for their families,” according to Sheriff Brad Hardel, “We also want to show the kids that law enforcement officers care about the well being of the people in our community.”
“Our goal is 20 kids, whether they’re financially disadvantaged or have been traumatized by a family tragedy,” said Deputy Cameron Durrant, who is spearheading the program.
Durrant said officers will give the children $100 gift cards and take them on a bus to shop at two local stores.
“It’s so they can buy gifts for their families,” Durrant said.
An officer will accompany each child and then take them all to lunch, where they will also play games while volunteers wrap their gifts.
Each child will also receive their own Christmas gift during lunch.
“We don’t want them to fell left out,” Hardel said. “We will talk to the parents to get an idea of what gift to get a child.”
The Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office is accepting referrals from other law enforcement agencies, schools and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Applications are also being accepted from the community.
To be eligible, the children must reside in Waupaca County and be between the ages of 5 and 12 years old.
Parents must be able to provide transportation to and from the event, have no pending criminal charges or be in the Waupaca County jail.
Children will be chosen based on the family’s financial difficulties, illness or other unfortunate circumstances.
To obtain an application form, contact Deputy Durrant at 715-258-4466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is noon Oct. 31 and only 20 children will be selected to participate in the shopping spree in early December.
About $1,000 has been raised toward a goal of $4,000.
To donate to Shop with a Cop, contact Durrant at the phone number or email address above by Nov. 1.