Kids and cops Christmas shop together in Craig
CRAIG — Walmart was the safest place in Craig on Wednesday, Dec. 20, when more than 20 law enforcement officers arrived to take at-risk-youth Christmas shopping.
The event — Shop with a Cop — pairs children and cops for an evening of holiday cheer, at which each child received $100 and help from officers to shop.
“For some of these children, the items they purchase will be the only items they receive for Christmas,” said Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume.
Children are allowed to shop for themselves, for their family and/or their friends.
“It’s a fantastic program. When they grow up, they will know that the cops are friends,” said Walmart Assistant Manager Mauricio Colavery. “I think it’s good for the community, altogether.”
One young shopper, an 8-year-old student from Sunset Elementary School, said that, before the experience, he wasn’t sure what to think about law enforcement officers; now, he thinks they are “cool.”
Popular items among the youngsters included drones and Legos, but there were also some surprising choices.
“He chose some batteries for his dad,” MCSO Deputy Larry Dalton said of the child he helped to shop.
Another child selected a sewing machine, and several chose to purchase essential clothing items.
“It’s heartwarming to see some of the purchases the kids make,” said Undersheriff Charlene Abdella.
Generous donations in 2016 ($5,000) and 2017 ($2,000) by Craig resident Beth Loken allowed the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office to start Shop with a Cop in 2016.
In the first year, deputies took three children from the Boys & Girls Club of Craig Christmas shopping.
Additional donations from Loken, Walmart and community members saw the program expand in its second year to benefit 13 students who attend the Boys & Girls Club of Craig and Maybell, Ridgeview, Sunset, Sandrock and East elementary schools.
Another change this year was an increase in the number of participating law enforcement agencies.
“It’s nice having so many law enforcement (agencies) from the community here. Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and Craig Police Department are all here. It’s amazing that we can all come together and cooperate like this,” said State Patrol Captain Douglas Conrad.
It is hoped the community will continue to give generously to allow the program to grow.
“It’s just awesome, a great opportunity for positive interaction with kids and families. I hope it will continue every year,” said Craig Police Department Investigator Norm Rimmer.
The response of the children was perhaps best summed up in a card given to Hume by one of the youngsters: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.