Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

Police Bring Christmas to Underprivileged Youth

DSC 9323HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (12/10/11)—While a down economy and high unemployment rates across the country only add to the dilemma, financial troubles for most families are timeless, and it’s an unfortunate truth that many children will receive little to no gifts for Christmas as a result. However, one of several charitable holiday programs in our region—the annual “Shop With a Cop” Program—has been able change that fact for thousands of local youths over the years.

Initially organized by the national Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in the early 1980’s, the “Shop With a Cop” Program spread outward and became a big part of the Madisonville/Hopkins County area during the late 1980’s to early 1990s. Overseen by our local FOP group—the Pat Collins FOP Lodge 19—and directly supported by volunteers with the Madisonville Police Department (MPD), Citizen’s Police Academy, Hopkins County Jail, Probation and Parole, Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department (HCSD), a variety of businesses, a cross-section of generous area residents and groups, and beyond, the program helps to provide new clothing and toys to hundreds of local kids every year.

In building upon this lengthy tradition, members of the FOP and local law enforcement members also provide a breakfast from McDonald’s to the children and their families prior to shopping alongside them for clothes and toys at Madisonville’s Wal-Mart location. What’s more, the officers also escort the children and their families to Capitol 8 Theatre to watch a special holiday film after the shopping is over.

While at the event around 7:30am, December 10th, SurfKY News spoke with MPD officers who were volunteering, FOP volunteers/organizers, and some of the children who were shopping to find out the impact of the program.

A longtime volunteer with the program, MPD Lieutenant Robert Carter, explained that the event gives the police department a great opportunity to interact with the area youth face-to-face while also providing a valuable service. Yet, as he noted, the program wouldn’t have been possible without the strong support the community provides year after year.

“We want all of the readers and community members to know that we thank them for helping out. Because of your generous support, we have more kids participating in the program this year than ever before,” said Lt. Carter. “It’s great getting to be a part of something that has such a positive impact on our youth and I hope we receive the same great support that we always have in the years to come.”

DSC 9321In total, both Lt. Carter and the program’s chief organizer of 17 years—former FOP President Jerry Robards—stated that a total of over 300 kids applied to participate in the event this year. Of that total, a record-breaking 111 underprivileged children received $125 of in-store credit each. As Robards and Lt. Carter explained, $100 will go toward necessities like clothing, while the remaining $25 will be used to find an age-appropriate gift such as a video game, doll, or similar item for each of the children.

Once at the Capital 8 Theatre, where the participants will view a film called Arthur Christmas, officials say that they will pick up popcorn, candy, and drinks for each of the children and their families. Additionally, Santa Clause will be making a special stop before the movie to take pictures with the children. The photos will be developed while the participants are wathcing the movie and will be presented to them as they are leaving, said Robards.

Three local youths who shopped alongside Lt. Carter during today’s event—Brayden Payne, 7; Javan Todd, 11; and Timothy Nelson, 8—said they were excited to be shopping and hanging out with the police officers, and each took the time to say “Thank you.”

“Shopping with the cops is really cool,” said Brayden. “It’s really nice for them to do this for us.”

Other than buying “a lot of clothing,” the boys said that they were hoping to pick up an item called “Dr. Jeff’s Zombie Lab” with their remaining $25.

DSC 9334On the impact of the program, organizer Jerry Robards explained that, “This is the most enjoyable time of the year for a lot of these guys out here volunteering, because they’re getting to help people one-on-one. A lot of the volunteers are not only helping financially, but they’re going around with the people and getting to know their stories on more of a personal level. This event also lets the kids see the police officers in a good light. In fact, I’ve had appreciative people come back in their teens and early twenties and tell me that they remember being a part of the ‘Shop With a Cop’ program.”

“This is the biggest turnout with 111 kids participating this year and, with that in mind, we simply can’t thank everyone in the community enough for their support,” added Robards.

Though the local FOP’s “Shop With a Cop” Program is over for the year, the organization collects funding for the charity-based program all year long. So, if you’re interested in donating, simply send a check or money order with “Shop With a Cop” in the memo line to the following address:

FOP Lodge 19
P.O. Box 365
Madisonville, KY 42431

 

Luke Short
SurfKY News
Photos taken by Jeff Harp of Focus Photography LLC

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

3/13 - 16

Stock Report

1 DOW 17,172.68
-107.06 (-0.62%)    
2 S&P 1,994.29
-16.11 (-0.80%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,527.69
-52.10 (-1.14%)    
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

In Other News...

Muhlenberg Bass Team Members Score Scholarships

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (9/22/14) — Muhlenberg Mustang Bass Team members Jacob Bowles and Cameron Brooks have been… Read More

Hundreds Turn Out for Greenville Festival

GREENVILLE, Ky. (9/22/14) — Greenville's annual Squash and Gobble Festival enjoyed a huge turnout in near perfect… Read More
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 19, 2014 4577

Madisonville Man Among Three Arrested for…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
September 20, 2014 3420

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 3397

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 18, 2014 3010

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight
September 19, 2014 2816

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 17, 2014 3397

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 2816

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 18, 2014 1885

Manitou Man Charged with DUI

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 18, 2014 1801

Vehicle Strikes CSX Train Cars at Crossing

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 1482

My Kentucky Roads - Twin Maples Farm in…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 20, 2014 1041

Man Charged with Theft After KSP…

in Top Stories by Alexis McGee
September 19, 2014 859

STREET CLOSINGS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton
September 19, 2014 829

Police Searching for Hit-And-Run Driver

in Top Stories by Jennifer Smith, DCSO
September 18, 2014 671

Owensboro's Nathan Morris Has Worldwide…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 18, 2014 497

9-1-1 Phone Lines

in Top Stories by Michael Hathaway

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 20, 2014 3420

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 20, 2014 1562

Paradise NRA Banquet Promises Food, Fun,…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 22, 2014 676

Third Suspect Charged in Greenville Home…

in Top Stories by MCITF PIO Wes Miller
September 22, 2014 545

Hundreds Turn Out for Greenville Festival

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 22, 2014 467

Muhlenberg Bass Team Members Score…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06