Fundraising fun: Cops for Kids shopping trip funded with summer fun

Friday, September 3, 2010
Chandler Harmon of Lewisburg, left, buys a blue raspberry snow cone from Ariel Holt who says she volunteered at the fundraiser on a request from her pastor, Shaun Grant.

Thousands of dollars were raised Saturday in Rock Creek Park where the Cops for Kids fundraising party was held under the auspices of Lewisburg Police.

"The money goes to pay for the Christmas shopping trip for underprivileged children," Police Chief Chuck Forbis said in the Farmers Market Pavilion where the $5 entry fee also bought lunch.

Children were invited to dunk their favorite police officer while more mature visitors bid on memorabilia like autographed parts of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmy Johnson race cars, and signatures from George Jones, Brad Paisley, Vince Young, Mike Minor and Dont'a Hightower on guitars, balls and other memorabilia.

"We ask the elementary school counselors to select the children" for the shopping tours," Forbis said. "The only requirements are that they have to be struggling and that if there's a sibling at another elementary school, we take the other one, too.

"It's really heartening when they go through the store before Christmas when they're looking for something for a brother, parent or grandparent," the chief said.

The Rev. Steve Thomas, a police chaplain, estimated more than 150 people attended the event, but that's down from the same event last summer.

"There's been very little going on for charity since late 2008, or whenever the crash started," Thomas said. "People are having trouble paying their own bills, so it's hard to be generous.

"My colleagues and I have seen it" among people who've needed help and turned to the church, Thomas said.

Still, there were volunteers for the dunking booth and support from individuals and corporations, according to Police Lt. Rebekah Mitchell. The sponsors' contributions paid Media Balloons for the inflatable playgrounds.

"This year we raised about $9,200 and last year we raised about $9,700, but with the economy being the way it is, I'm pleased," Mitchell said. "I think we had a better quality of items up for auction.

"I am appreciative and grateful for what we received, and we don't take the kids shopping until December, so people can still help," she said. "My goal is to raise $10,000, so I can take 100 kids shopping."

Craig Blackwell, a spokesman for Lewisburg Gas, took his turn in the dunking booth and later commented, "I thought I was going to risk drowning."

Kelly Baus of Cornersville enjoyed the fun with her children.

It's pretty nice," she said of the event held for the second time here. "We have friends who are cops," she said naming Officer John Christmas, also a Marshall County commissioner who took office on Sept. 1.