They were checking their lists more than twice on recently at Walmart as Lee County Sheriff’s Office personnel conducted their annual Shop with a Cop campaign. This year, they didn’t have their usual helpers on hand to aid in filling the wish lists.
COVID-19 precautions prevented children from joining the LCSO staff members, but it didn’t lessen the excitement displayed by the law enforcement members as they secured just the right gift for the children.
Major Jimmy Woodard stated that not having the children accompanying them and helping with locating the presents was a remarkable change. “It’s more enjoyable when the kids are with us and they are a great resource in finding the items on their list,” he explained.
Woodard admitted to being more a gift card type of shopper, but he, along with a dozen others from the sheriff’s office, roamed the aisles at the Jonesville store to locate toys, games, bikes, clothing and outerwear for 12 middle school students in the county. Students from Elydale, Jonesville, and Pennington Middle Schools were selected as recipients this year. This is the sheriff’s office’s fourth year participating in Shop with a Cop.
Along with the gifts for the youngsters, families will be receiving a voucher card for a meal from Walmart, with Food City also providing a family meal.
Major Woodard said that some funds left over from last year, along with donations from local businesses and individuals, supplied the funding for this year’s gift buying. These funds also helped with the campaign conducted by the department.
“We used the ‘Back the Blue’ signs as a fundraiser with people donating $10 for each sign,” said Woodard. He notes that signs are still available at the sheriff’s office.
During a normal year, the youngsters would be paired with a law enforcement individual to fill out their Christmas list and then there would be a meal provided by Walmart. LCSO staff will get to share in some of the Christmas joy when they deliver the presents to each child’s home on December 18.
Amy Taylor, Victim Witness Program Assistant Director, added that the children will also be receiving a stocking with their gifts. Taylor was busily collecting items recently to fill each with goodies.
Woodard said that the Shop with a Cop campaign has been a way for the department members to interact with children in an environment that has positive effects for everyone.
“The kids get to have a merrier Christmas and we get to share in their joy,” said Woodard. “If it makes a difference in a child’s life, then that’s all the motivation anyone should need.”
To contribute to the Shop with a Cop campaign, contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 276-346-7753.