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'Shop With A Cop" squares away Christmas for kids in need

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Dec 14, 2018 at 4:40 PM

A massive convoy of police vehicles followed by two tour buses loaded with children pulled up to the Super Walmart store on Browns Mill Road Thursday evening, signaling the start of community’s annual Shop With a Cop.

Event spokeswoman and Johnson City Police Officer Brittney Eberhardt said 67 area school children not included in other Christmas gift giving outreach programs for low income families and about 75 officers from 10 local law enforcement agencies were paired up for the shopping spree, which allowed each child to select $150 in toys, clothing and gifts for their family members.

All other children in the kids’ homes also receive Christmas gifts from the Shop With A Cop project, and holiday food boxes are provided to each of their families.

According to Eberhardt, all of the gifts are made possible by community donations and this year included a $10,000 contribution from Graphic Disorder company, a $2,500 gift from Smith Brothers Harley Davidson and the local Harley Owners Group, a few $1,000 donations and several $500 contributions.

A Jingle Jam dinner and concert held in August at Our House restaurant in Boones Creek raised $3,000 for this year’s Shop With A Cop, a Nov. 10 Superhero 5K and Family Fun Run run also generated a lot in sponsorship donations.

Before Thursday night’s shopping tour through Walmart, the kids were treated to a Chick-fil-A dinner in the Fairmont School gymnasium as well as chance to visit with Santa and to meet the Chick-fil-A cow.

In addition to meeting the kids’ needs at Christmas — including a coat, shoes and clothing and other essential items for those who need them — Eberhardt said the event helps build positive relationships between the officers and the community’s youngest members.

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