Ardmore Police Department officers were dispatched to a local business Wednesday afternoon in reference to a call concerning children who needed some Christmas cheer.
Wednesday marked the first night that a large group of children selected for the local Shop with Cops program got to roam the isles of Walmart and spend $100 on items of their choosing.
Over 100 children were selected to participate in the Shop with Cops program this year, said Heroes with Hope Director Melissa Woolly. During Wednesday’s excursion the children brought home a mix of toys and clothes.
Designed to help out families in need during the holidays, many of the children selected for the program thought carefully about what to buy, said APD Sergeant Gee. “We spend $100 on them and it takes them some time to spend because a lot of these kids only get $15 to $20 to spend normally”
Many of the children’s shopping partners on Wednesday night were seasoned with the program. Gee said he and APD Captain White have been participating in the program for nearly 24 years now.
Gee recalled some of the items he has seen children purchase in the past, including bed linens and a heater, as one child set a heated blanket on the counter to buy.
Officers will often go out of their way to brighten the children’s day by getting at least a few toys for the children who mostly purchase clothes, Gee said.
Gee’s shopping partner this year was 10-year-old Coleman, who said one his favorite parts of the excursion was the ride there. “I really did like the sirens and I liked the computer that was in the front,” Coleman said.
The children also had access to the radios in the patrol cars and could be heard shouting “merry Christmas” on the way back to the police station.
Gee said another big trip will be made tomorrow, followed by a third trip later in the month. As a well-seasoned Shop with Cops participant Gee said he has seen the program make a big impact on the children over the years and still sees many of the participants out in the community.
“It helps them to come out and talk to us while we’re out in the community and a lot of the ones that we’ve helped throughout the years, they actually work here and they come out and help us out,” Gee said.
Woolly said Heroes with Hope will continue to take kids for the program as the funds become available. “We may continue to take kids until Christmas night,” she said.
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