Twenty-one local children went on a Christmas shopping spree thanks to generous supporters of the Cut Bank Police Department’s (CBPD) “Shop with a Cop” program.
The children, sponsors and “cops” met at Norman’s Outdoor Sports on Monday, Dec. 9, to shop for essentials, such as, winter clothing they did not have and desperately needed.
Dressing some needy kids each winter has been the goal of the CBPD’s “Shop with a Cop” program.
“With the help of Cut Bank Schools and a couple other agencies, we identify kids that are not properly dressed for winter. These are the kids that come to school without winter clothing, boots, coats, gloves, etc. And then, thanks to our great sponsors, we are able to take the kids shopping for some good winter clothes and even buy each of them a toy for Christmas. We want them all to have a very good Christmas and this is one way we can do that for them,” said Josh Simonds, Assistant Police Chief at the Cut Bank Police Department.
This year, there were four sponsors from Cut Bank providing donations to the Police Department, along with one anonymous donor. Together they all provided enough monies to the program that allowed the Police Department to spend approximately $125 per child on Monday, the shopping day.
“We could not do this without our amazing sponsors and the donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The four businesses making this happen for the kids are Edward Jones, First Interstate Bank, Gage Accounting and Stockman Bank,” Simonds said. “Hopefully, with the continued support of the community, we can keep growing this program.”
Norman’s Outdoor Sports, where the kids do all the shopping along with help of the sponsors and the Police Department, also kick in a nice discount on all the purchases made on the Shop With a Cop day.
“Jack Norman gives us a good discount, which helps the money we have go further,” Simonds said. “The shopping was a huge success and it was a great experience for everyone.”
While the Shop With a Cop program has usually been about helping kids they may not have helped in the past, Simonds said the 21 kids they had on the list this year, all needed some winter clothing and that list includes some kids from last year.
“We helped 16 kids last year and some of them are ones in need again this year. We decided we wanted to help everyone, the new kids on our list and those we may have helped before that need items again this year,” Simonds said.
Not only do the kids benefit from this shopping experience, but Simonds said, those helping the kids do the shopping, also benefit.
“I think it helps everyone see another side of things and to realize just how many kids really do need help getting properly dressed for winter,” he said. “It is great for them to see where the dollars they donate go and I think that is really key to the continued success of this program.”
He added, “And the kids are so appreciative. I cannot tell you how many times we hear them say something like, ‘this is my first winter coat,’ or ‘I haven’t had a new pair of boots before.’ It feels good to see them all better equipped for winter.”
Many of the kids that are shopping are a little leery to pick out a toy at the end of their shopping spree, mostly because they have not been able to do that before…ever.
Once they have all the right winter gear to keep them warm, their shoppers take them down the toy aisle and let them pick out a special toy, that is just for them. Their eyes light up even more at that point.
“Shop With a Cop” is a true holiday event, a true, feel-good event that embodies the spirit of Christmas. The CBPD is thankful to the businesses and individuals who are always willing to support the program and help ensure a warm and joyful holiday season for local children.