Christmas came early for 125 children Saturday morning as members of the Jessamine County law-enforcement community strolled through the aisles of Walmart with the kids during the 11th annual Shop with a Cop event.
“This is something we look forward to every year,” Nicholasville police Cpl. Ben Rugg said. “The officers really enjoy doing this, and it’s nice when you get to take a child who didn’t think they were going to have something and they end up having a Christmas. So it’s really nice.”
Sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police, the event involved officers from agencies throughout Jessamine County who took children shopping through the store. Each child got to spend $125.
While the FOP was the main sponsor, Rugg said many other sponsors helped make it happen.
“The Fraternal Order of Police have been taking donations, and Alltech has been our biggest supporter this year. They gave us $6,400 just from them; we also had donations from McLane Cumberland and several local businesses, and people off the street have donated to us.”
The program began with the first group of officers and children at 8 a.m. and went until noon.
Many of the children were referred to the FOP through the school system.
“The schools generally know which kids are in need and which are not in need,” Rugg said. “They submit the names, and (Nicholasville police clerk) Mary Marion sends out a letter and the parents end up calling us back to let us know if they want to participate.”
Rugg said the response from businesses and others in the community was not surprising.
“This is one of those programs that everybody wants to help out with,” he said.