Police, friends shop for Christmas gifts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From Staff Reports

Lewisburg Police officers' Cops for Kids Christmas program broke a record Saturday by shopping with 60 percent more youngsters than last year.

There were about 100 children who were beneficiaries of the Cops for Kids program last year, volunteer Joyce Lee said Monday. This year, because of fundraisers and contributions, there were about 160 youngsters on the shopping trip.

Each child spends $100 tax free through the non-profit organization. With just these numbers, it's clear the program grew well over half again more than last year.

Saturday morning, Walmart had three checkout lanes reserved for the purchases. Last year the store had two lanes reserved for Cops for Kids.

"This is a great way for the police to build trust with the children," Lee said, quoting one of the youngsters' shopping chaperone who spoke on a condition that she only be identified as one of the elves.

"The mother of one of the children selected for the shopping trip said that her family had just moved to Marshall County and has never seen anything like this event," Lee said.

This is the sixth year for Marshall County High School junior Celanie Gillespie to volunteer as a chaperone shopper with the Cops for Kids program.

"I don't have to do this," Gillespie said. "I do it because I enjoy it."

Olivia Schultz, 17, was chaperoning children for the third year.

After the shopping trip, police, chaperones and the children went to the old Connelly school for lunch, where children picked up their shopping bags filled with gifts and departed with their parents.