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Shop with a Cop returns for another year of giving

Event connects children and officers, fosters understanding


This holiday season the Newberg-Dundee Police Department will once again partner with local organizations to make a positive difference in the lives of local children.Photo Credit: SUBMITTED - Shopping spree - Shop with a Cop, now in its fourth year, connects low-income children with police officers for a holiday shopping trip at the Newberg Fred Meyer store.

Shop with a Cop, now in its fourth year, connects low-income children with police officers for a holiday shopping trip at the Newberg Fred Meyer store. The children range from ages 6 to 10 and are selected from elementary schools in the area.

Twenty NDPD officers will participate in the program, all of whom are volunteering their time, said organizer Sgt. Jessica Van Horn.

Van Horn works with community partners to plan the event, locating children to participate and securing donations.

This year there were numerous partners for Shop with a Cop. Edwards Ele­mentary School helped identify children who could participate in the event, and also held a wrapping paper drive so the gifts the children buy can be wrapped. Partners Behind the Badge, a group started by spouses of NDPD officers, will be present at the event to wrap gifts picked by the children.

Last year 30 children participated in Shop with a Cop, up from the previous years. This year the program will accommodate 40 participants.

“Fred Meyer in­creased the amount they were willing to raise so we could support 40 kids,” Van Horn said.

Shop with a Cop programs originated in Las Vegas in 1978, and now take place nationwide. In most of the programs, children are given a gift card to purchase gifts for themselves.

Newberg does the program with a twist.

“Christ­mas is all about giving, not necessarily receiving,” Van Horn said. “I thought it would be really cool for these kids who come from families who are struggling to have their own money to shop for their family.”

In New­berg’s program the par­ticipating children are given gift cards to purchase gifts for their siblings and par­ents. When Van Horn sug­gested the idea to the program partners at Fred Meyer, they were receptive and the changes were made.

Last year, with 30 children participating, this twist on the program meant that 90 of their family members received gifts from the kids.

After shopping for their families the children are given special gifts themselves as well. The program organizers make an effort to pick out personalized gifts for each child.

Overall the event benefits everyone involved, especially the children, Van Horn said.

“They see we’re not scary, we can be fun,” she said. “And then they get to take home wrapped gifts for their families.”

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