The Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation Shop with a Cop was a great success! 79 children from 3 school districts were able to come to Wal-Mart on SE 82nd Avenue on Saturday, December 11th and shop with a cop.
15 children were escorted up to the store by Canby Police Department and shopped with their officers. Lieutenant Jorge Tro coordinated their outing for the 3rd consecutive year.
Molalla Police Department’s officers and employees have 100% participation in payroll deduction donations to the Benevolent Foundation, so they were invited to bring 10 kids from their school district. Many of their officers, to include Chief Jerry Giger, spent the morning shopping with the kids from their city and stayed to help with many others.
Ellen Baltus, counselor for North Clackamas School District, was able to gather 51 children from the Overland Park neighborhood, which has been a signature safety program for the Sheriff’s Office for many years. Three additional children came with siblings and were funded to shop by on-the-spot generosity, bringing the total number of kids that shopped to 79.
Each of the 61 kids that were sponsored by the Benevolent Foundation received a $100 allowance to shop with. As each arrived, they were paired with a uniformed police officer, who was given the gift card and a shopping cart and off they went! Parents were required to wait, where PJ Steigleder was able to treat them to a donation of Krispy Kreme donuts! When done shopping, it was time to go through the checkout. Many officers helped when the kids went over their $100 limits. Gift wrapping of presents was donated by Wal-Mart to include employee volunteers and wrapping materials. Dentists in the area also donated hygiene packets for each child and Columbia Sportswear donated employee shopping passes to their store.
The Sheriff’s Office contingent of shoppers was led by expert budgeter Captain Kevin Layng.
Children are selected by school counselors who have had a negative exposure to police, such as a family member arrested. Often a person who has been arrested will blame the police for their indiscretion and try to shift the blame for what is happening to the police, leaving children with the impression that police are bad. This shopping event allows children to be one-on-one with a police officer and get to know them as what they truly are – average people doing a very difficult job, with families and children just like them. It is hoped that the seeds planted with help the children better appreciate their ‘cops’.
A $1000 grant from Wal-Mart helped off-set costs, as well as a special donation by Mr. Neil Hughes for $500. Other donors included William & Linda Olson, John & Marianne Van Huizen, Mark & Terri Koberstein, and Richard & Judy Thompson, totaling $2000.
To top it all off, Dick Ellis reprised his annual role as Santa, along with his loyal elf, Bella. All kids got a picture with Santa and a stuffed animal.
The following volunteers & ‘shoppers’ were very much appreciated:
Charlie Baker, Sherri Magdlen, John & Marianne Van Huizen, Jaime Ingham, Patty McMillan, Gordon & Cindy White, Ellen Baltus, Ken McCormick, Wilda Parks, Dick Ellis & Bella, Phillip & Amber Hoang, Steve Long, Tony LaPointe, James Hohensee, Ken Haider, Steve Hohensee, Kevin Layng, Robert Call, Erin Brisben, Ben Frazier, Gil Millett, James Keen, Brad Leikem, Hannah Davis, John Gibson, Rob & Diana Dunkle, Dan O’Keeffe, Dessa DeForest, Mark Koberstein, Terri Cassebarth, Curt Kessler, Andrew McVey, Greg Martin, Agnes Moyer, Amanda Geislinger, Lucas Tegemecht, Chris Nicholson, Colt Steeves, Jerry Giger, Paul Coleman and Mike Zacher Jr.
One woman arrived with 3 kids. She checked in and had only one child listed to shop. The other two were sitting on the floor, out of the way. The boy took off his coat and gave it to his sister, who was shivering from the cold. When asked about the other two kids, the woman said that she had received word that her one child was invited, but not the other two. She said that she had to bring them, because she lived in her car and there was no place else for them to stay. They shared one coat between them. A quick donation was made and two more gift cards purchased so all three kids could shop. Two coats from the limited ones supplied by Columbia Sportswear were given them, too. The appreciation in the mother’s eyes and the joy in the kids’ faces made for the entire event.
Thank you to Board of Directors of the Benevolent Foundation for organizing this great event and to all of you who volunteered to make it happen.
President, Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation.