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Shop with a Cop makes holiday special for kids

Sarah Marino/The Dominion Post
Rachel Hughes (left), Riain Bassard and Dakarai Bassard shop with Lt. Burks as part of Shop with a Cop at Walmart at University Town Centre Saturday.

The Walmart parking lot was filled with police cars on Saturday morning, but there was nothing to be alarmed about.

Police from the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department offered their time to the community and participated in Shop with a Cop. Kids and their parents waited patiently to have their time with a first responder and pick out Christmas toys together.

Tammy White, Secretary to the Detective Division, was checking in families on Saturday morning. She said Shop with a Cop this year served around 80 families and has been going on for 24 years.

“It’s a program that the Deputy Sheriff’s Association fundraises money for every year, so this is possible by members of our community and businesses,” she said.

She said on average, Shop with a Cop serves 70 to 100 children. She said it gives the kids a very positive interaction with the police and it’s the officers’ way of giving back.

White said Shop with a Cop is something the first responders look forward to every year and seeing the kids smile when they receive gifts. White said Shop with a Cop allows kids the chance to realize police are the good guys.

“It just makes your heart feel good. It’s great to be able to be a part of this with the Sheriff’s office and a great group of guys,” she said.

White said the kids look forward to the day just as much as the cops do.

“It’s fun to go check them in and ask them what they want and see them smile. … It makes it all worthwhile,” she said.

Dakarai Bassard and brother Riain were shopping for toys early Saturday morning. Mom Rachel Hughes said it’s very exciting to be able to spend the day with her boys and Lt. Burks.

“I’m glad the cops are able to help the kids to be able to get stuff for Christmas, and they were looking forward to doing that this year,” Hughes said.

Hughes said the boys are big fans of Legos and wrestlers and video games.

“It’s a great experience to show kids that cops are here to help, and it’s great to be able to experience this with them,” she said.

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