Shop With A Cop brings Christmas to 90 kids
— Brittaney Hall and Christopher Everett Sr. stood off to one side and watched as their three children excitedly shopped Saturday morning, each with a uniformed police officer in tow.
“They needed a surprise right now,” Hall said.
On Dec. 1, a fire swept the family’s home on Huntsman Drive in Elkton. Everyone, including the family dog, got out unhurt, but Kayley, Daniel and Christopher Jr. lost
everything. That’s where Saturday’s trip to the North East Walmart courtesy of Shop with a Cop came in.
Now in its fifth year, the program assigns each child a police officer and a cadre of volunteers to assist in selecting clothes and toys with a $300 gift card. Children are selected based on need and the Everett kids were brought into the program at the behest of Ashley Allen, Christopher’s kindergarten teacher at Holly Hall Elementary School.
The Everett children were not told they would be part of this year’s Shop With A Cop Cecil County until they were on the way to the North East Fire Company banquet hall Saturday morning.
“They were working on their lists until they got to the fire hall,” Everett Sr. said.
Almost 90 children from 40 Cecil County families took part this year. Officers take their assigned child in their patrol car from the fire house to Walmart, lights
and sirens activated. This year, Trent Enterprises donated a tractor trailer to get all the gifts transported from the shopping center to the fire house, said Maryland State Police Captain James Russell, president of SWAC Cecil County.
After shopping, the party moves back to the firehouse where the kids enjoy lunch and volunteers wrap each gift. The families are also given food for holiday meals. Walmart donated turkeys, while fundraisers held throughout the year and community donations support the rest of the project.
More than 250 volunteers make SWAC work.
Daniel Everett, 5, was most interested in sets of Matchbox cars. Dep. Maryland State Fire Marshal Howard Ewing was all smiles watching his charge select from the shelves packed full of toys.
“As long as that young man is happy that’s all the matters,” Ewing said. “This is awesome.”
Ewing and fellow fire marshal Derek Chapman were new to SWAC. Chapman and volunteer Maggie Penhollow kept track of the funds left on Kayley Everett’s gift card.
“I did lose a lot of my favorite things in the fire,” the 9-year-old said.
Among those items were shoes.
“I didn’t even have a pair when I got out,” Kayley said.
Penhollow and Chapman helped her find the right size of a pair of neon colored-sneakers.
“This is really fun,” she added. “I like shoes.”
Already in her cart were shirts and leggings, socks and other clothing essentials.
Seeing that Kayley was happy with the shoes, Chapman said he was also pleased.
“This is awesome. We’re all helping together,” Chapman said.
Makayla Hutzel, a Shop With A Cop Cecil County volunteer, and Dep. 1st Class Jon Wright with the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office helped Dalton Jones shop for clothes and toys Saturday. This was the 5th Shop With A Cop event.
Kayley Everett, center, explains how she was left shoeless when her Elkton home caught fire Dec. 1. Deputy Maryland State Fire Marshal Derek Chapman and Shop With A Cop Cecil County volunteer Maggie Penhollow helped the 9-year-old choose new shoes with her $300 gift card.