‘Shop with a Cop’ planned for Dec. 10

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     After the success of last year’s Shop with a Cop program, the Jones County Family Council is bringing it back.

     On Monday, Dec. 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., middle school children throughout Jones County will have the opportunity to scour the aisles of Wal-Mart in Anamosa to shop for the holidays, alongside a friendly law enforcement officer. The kids will be shopping for gifts for their loved ones and family members.

     With a goal of serving 25 kids last year, Sherri Hunt, a member of the Family Council, said they were actually able to include 44 kids. Each received $100 to spend, thanks in large part to donations and grants. This year, Hunt is setting her sights on 50 kids spending $100 each again.

     “That would be awesome,” she said.

     Already Hunt has secured several grants and donations from Wal-Mart itself, DuTrac Community Credit Union, and Monticello’s Porch Posse.

     “With the success of this event last year, doing it again was a no brainer,” Hunt said. “When it ended last year, people asked us to let them know about it this year.” Hunt said the law enforcement officials actually asked to be part of it again.

     Those agencies lending a hand again this year include:

     • Monticello Police

     • Anamosa Police

     • Jones County Sheriff’s Office

     • Anamosa State Penitentiary

     • Iowa State Patrol

     Hunt shared that the prison graciously holds its own internal fundraiser, with staff and inmates. Last year, the prison donated $1,800 to the Shop with a Cop event.

     “They really do give back to the community,” praised Hunt.

     Each student is assigned a law enforcement official to shop alongside.

     The Jones County Family Council is all about preventing child abuse and protesting children. By partnering with several law enforcement agencies, Hunt said they want these middle schoolers to know that these officials are good people.

     “Building that relationship is important,” she said.

     Shop with a Cop serves fifth through eighth graders in the Monticello, Anamosa, Midland and Olin school districts. Hunt said she works closely with the school counselors in those schools to help identify students “who need a friend or role model” right now in their lives.

     “The link with the schools is important,” she said.

     Sometimes income levels and family situations play a role as well in identifying “kids that need a little boost around the holidays.

     “It’s about sharing in the joy,” Hunt said. “We want the kids to feel important and know that giving is better than receiving for their family. It’s an important lesson to teach kids, and makes for a better holiday season.”

     After the shopping extravaganza, volunteers and Wal-Mart employees offer to wrap everything the kids purchased.

     “The Wal-Mart people loved it last year,” said Hunt of the hustle and bustle. “It took a ton of volunteers, but everything went well.”

     Hunt is still seeking donations to help fulfill their goal of serving 50 youth for this event. Donations can be dropped off at both the Monticello and Anamosa police stations. You can also contact the Family Council at jonescountycppc@gmail.com or Hunt at Sherri.Hunt@co.jones.ia.us for more information.

     “It’s really not a lot of work,” Hunt admitted of the time and effort that goes into Shop with a Cop. “People get excited about it, and it’s a great avenue of giving.”



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