LITTLE HELPER: Santa Claus listens as a young girl in the Prestonsburg community tells him her wishes for Christmas. The Shop with a Cop program helped 46 children.
Prestonsburg helps 46 children
By MARY MEADOWS Staff Writer
The Prestonsburg Police Department made Christmas brighter for 46 children during its annual Shop with a Cop program.
Now in its 13th year, the program was held Dec. 17 at the Mountain Arts Center, followed by a shopping spree at the Walmart in Prestonsburg.
The event began with a lunch donated by Giovanni’s Pizza and Hobert’s Pizza.
Children were also treated to entertainment by “Munroe” of the Kentucky Opry and they visited Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Police officers, Prestonsburg Fire Department officials and numerous volunteers handed out new clothes, shoes and toys to the children.
The children selected for the program by Family Youth Resource Centers at Floyd County schools also received a $100 shopping spree, and their siblings received a $50 shopping spree.
The police department also provided every family with large totes filled with plenty of food for Christmas dinner.
Police officers and city officials worked together throughout the year to raise funds for the program. “This year’s event would not have been possible without the donations of local businesses, organizations and individuals,” organizer Detective Steve Little said.
He gave a special thanks to the Destination Community Church, which hosted a toy drive for Shop with a Cop during the city’s Christmas parade.
He also commended students in Michelle Bragg’s class at Prestonsburg Elementary, who donated gifts for the program instead of hosting an annual gift exchange.
“Those who can give want to do something,” Little said. “I get a blessing, my family gets a blessing, every year that we do this. People who were raised in eastern Kentucky, we were raised differently than everybody else. We take care of each other when they’re in need, especially when it comes to helping children.”
One of the department’s biggest supporters is Prestonsburg resident Alan Rose, 44, and his 16-year-old daughter Christy, who have purchased bicycles for all the children selected by Family Youth Resource Centers and their siblings for the past 13 years.
They started the tradition after Rose watched the Shop with a Cop program on Prestonsburg’s Channel 2 and saw that one child was sad because only one bicycle was given away.
This year, the pair provided more than 40 bicycles and 16 tricycles or other ride-on toys for children two years old and younger.
“I’m glad every year that some kind of memory from this event stays with us throughout the year,” said Rose, who graduated this month with honors from Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
It takes him all year to save enough money to buy enough bicycles for all the kids in the Shop with a Cop program. He puts a little money aside each month so that he can afford the bicycles each December.
“You shouldn’t give until it hurts, but you should give until you feel it,” Rose said, looking at his daughter. “She knows that since we started this, she gets the least of anybody. She tells me it’s her choice. She tells me that.”
“I’d rather other people get it than me,” the Piarist School junior said. “I’m just glad we’re able to make this possible.”
Rose said Shop with a Cop also helps police officers show kids that they are the good guys.
“It’s important for the kids to know that they can go to these guys when they need them,” he said. “They don’t need to be afraid of the police, but embrace them and support them. I know most of these police officers and they will help them if they can.”
Mayor Jerry Fannin praised the work of city employees who make the event possible every year.
“It’s a great program. We’ve got a lot of good employees in the city,” he said. “It’s great to see all of these kids get what they want, seeing that smile on their face. And it’s great because this is the season that our Savior was born, and that’s what it’s really all about.”
Shop with a Cop sponsors also included Gold Slone Garage, Community Trust Bank, Davis Brothers’ Construction, Carter Funeral Home, First Commonwealth Bank, Eagle Financial Services, Cooley Apothecary, Prestonsburg Auto Mart, Food City, Home Furniture, Blake Burchett, MD, Brent Graden, Nelson Frazier Funeral Home, Hall & Clark Insurance, Williams Contracting, Robert Herrick DMD, William Campbell FOP Lodge #37, Bill and Clara Garrett, Calhoun’s Garage, Guyan Heavy Equipment, Mountain Metal, Kevin and Janet Moore, First Guaranty Bank, Earl Castle Jewelry and numerous individual donors.
The list of contributors also included the Prestonsburg Fire Department, which bought toys and gifts for one child in honor of fallen fire fighter Rusty Chaffins, who looked forward to the program every year.
The program will be broadcast on Channel 2 in Prestonsburg throughout Christmas Day.
To donate to next year’s program, call 606-886-1010.
Pikeville cops help 15 needy families
By DEBBIE ROLEN Staff Writer
PIKEVILLE — Fifteen families celebrated Christmas with law enforcement officers on Dec. 17 at the fire department’s training center. Funds were generated throughout the year by police officers and volunteers from the community.
“I’d like to thank all of the people who have donated and who have volunteered time to help us. There are people who are not police officers who have helped us,” Sgt. Aaron Thompson said. “You don’t get much accomplished alone, but you can get a lot accomplished with numbers. We just want to thank the people who have volunteered to help make this a good Christmas for these children.”
Instead of actually going out to shop with the children, this year the gifts were bought, wrapped and placed under the tree for Santa to come and help distribute to the families.
“We really like doing it this way,” said Thompson,” We are able to spend time with the families, share a meal, play games and then let the children open their gifts.”
The children’s names are submitted through the Pikeville Elementary Family Resource Youth Service Center.
The parents fill out a form that has clothing and shoe sizes. The children also submit some Christmas wishes.
If possible, at least one Christmas wish is fulfilled and the rest of the $135 per child is spent for clothing or shoes.
In the past, coats were bought, but Don Rowe was able to find another source for coats this year, which allowed them to spend more money on other things.
The families were treated to a snack as they waited for everyone to arrive. The children won additional prizes playing games and they enjoyed lunch, before the main event started.
The children were poised to run as names were called to come and get gifts from under the tree.
They tore into the presents and were soon ready to head home so they could open the boxes and make use of the contents.
If it wasn’t possible to find any of the Christmas wish items a child had listed, they received a gift card so they could find something they wanted.
Three of the children were unable to come because they were sick. The officers delivered their gifts to them.
Families also received a holiday meal gift basket to take home.
“Any time you can do something positive in your community, and especially with children, it’s a good thing,” he said.
“I’ve got children of my own. To see the smiles on their faces — and you understand the places these children are coming from — it’s extremely rewarding to see the smiles on their faces.”