The Johnson City Police Department’s S.W.A.G. — a support group for wives and girlfriends of JCPD officers that is led by those spouses and significant others — will host the first Jingle Bell Jam to benefit Shop with a Cop. Sunday’s event will include a meal, music, fellowship, a silent auction and a raffle.
The jam, scheduled for 2-7 p.m. at Our House Restaurant on North Roan Street, is a new twist for the group. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12.61 for kids 5-12 years old and children 4 and under are free for the buffet-style meal and concert. In addition to the meal and music, there will be door prizes, raffled prizes, auctions and more.
“Normally we do a yard sale, but we decided to do something different this year,” JCPD Officer Brittney Eberhardt said. The yard sale is time-intensive and took six weeks or more to prepare and have the event. The group decided to switch things up a little with a jam session featuring two local bands — Hollow Ground and Crossroad.
Eberhardt said the fundraiser will give the community an opportunity to meet police officers who work in the community every day as well as get a glimpse of how the money for Shop with a Cop is used.
“We keep all this money in this community,” Eberhardt said. “We serve the Johnson City School System and Jonesborough (police) serves the county schools.”
Last year, there were seven agencies that participated in the Johnson City event that served 63 children, but the number of kids the group can include depends on the amount of money raised.
“It’s based on the amount of money ... (Shop with a Cop) is entirely funded through donations and fundraisers,” she said, adding that with the pre-shopping party for the kids, the limo ride to Walmart, a $150 gift card for each one, the program costs around $250 to $350 for each child. Last year, Shop with a Cop spent $15,000. And while there were 63 kids, ages 5-12, directly involved in Shop with a Cop, Eberhardt said that more than 90 actually benefited.
The group hopes to have 70 kids ages 5 to 12 at this year’s Shop with a Cop. Meal boxes are also provided for the families of each child at a cost of $35 each. If a child specifically asks for a bike, the group does its best to provide it at a cost of $60.
“Each child has to get a coat or jacket and a pair of shoes at a minimum (and) we contact the family to see what else they need,” but the kids are also allowed to buy gifts for their family members. Eberhardt also said the group makes sure younger siblings and older ones to age 18 also have gifts under the tree for Christmas.
For the event on Sunday, tickets are available at the Eventbright website, www.eventbrite.com and search “Jingle Bell Jam”, or on the group’s Facebook page JCPDSWAG.
If anyone would like to give a direct donation to Shop with a Cop, they can drop off designated cash or checks at the police department.