Shop With A Cop brings Christ­mas to 90 kids

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - ISSUE By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

NORTH EAST

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

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.

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