Many people used last weekend as a chance to put up Christmas lights, do some cleaning or plan a Thanksgiving meal.
However, several Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Deputies started their weekend off by moonlighting at Los 5 Amigos restaurant in Richfield. Along with the Richfield Taco Time, the two establishments host a Shop With A Cop day, during which a percentage of every sale goes to help children in need.
“It’s very significant,” said Det. Matt O’Brien, who helps organize Shop With A Cop for the sheriff’s office.
As much as the holiday season has become about shopping, waiting in line and analyzing retail numbers, there are events hosted each year that reflect the true spirit of what Christmas is supposed to be about.
One of those events is the local Shop With A Cop program. Each year, the event strives to provide children from low-income families something to smile about on Christmas morning.
The most visible part of the effort is the Shop With A Cop event, which begins with a parade where children are allowed to play with the lights and sirens of emergency vehicles. The parade is a rousing affair followed by a fly-in from Santa Claus, many times courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol. Then the event culminates with a shopping spree for the children.
The lofty goal of raising enough money to keep Shop With A Cop going is always reached thanks to the generosity of people. Throughout the year, items are donated for a Facebook auction. Businesses and individuals donate money. Many times donations come from those on fixed incomes who may have a hard time managing a tight budget.
Many of the donations for the program were sold at an online auction, found at facebook.com/richfieldshop.withacop.
It’s not too late to bid on items on the online auction.
The potential rewards of Shop With A Cop are more far-reaching than just having presents under the Christmas tree.
Children who participate in the program are given an experience where they learn that police officers are their friends.
This can help build bonds between law enforcement and the youths of our community, and may end up paying dividends in the future.
Police officers have to deal with the very worst a community has to offer on a daily basis. Most of the time, whether it’s a speeding ticket or a felony arrest, interactions with law enforcement are not positive.
Shop With A Cop gives officers an opportunity to serve the community in a positive way, and have interactions with people that are upbeat.
Those who donated to the program this year, and in years past, deserve to be thanked for their efforts.
However, the program is always in need of donations in order to be sustained, and it’s not too late to make a cash donation.
This year, the event is slated for Saturday, Dec. 14.
For more information about how to donate to Shop With A Cop, call (435) 896-2600 or drop by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, at 835 East 300 North in Richfield.