POMEROY, Ohio – From shoes to board games and everything in between, children went shopping with a cop, enjoyed breakfast and even had a visit from Santa Claus as well.
Meigs County law enforcement officers came together to give are youth a special holiday experience with Shop-with-a-Cop.
The annual event is hosted by the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office. The event is possible with funding through donations and the non-profit group, Loyalty is Forever and Farmers Bank.
The effort assists Meigs County youth in having a brighter Christmas. It also allows youth to have a positive experience with law enforcement. Meigs County Sheriff Keith O. Wood said he likes reaching youth with a positive message through events like Shop-with-a-Cop. The event has grown to incorporate more than just the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office. Also officers participating were the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, Middleport Police Department, Syracuse Police Department, and the Racine Police Department. Representatives from the Meigs County Job and Family Services and Loyalty is Forever were also participating as well.
The youth involved were provided breakfast at Bob Evans in Mason, West Virginia with the officers. During the breakfast they are treated with a special visit from Santa Claus. Following the visit with Santa, Sheriff Wood briefly spoke with the youngsters telling them he hoped they would enjoy shopping and to have fun with it. The group then went to Walmart in Mason. After a group picture, the youth were partnered up with a law enforcement officer and went shopping for what they wanted for Christmas.
When asked about the experience, one of the teen participants with Shop-with-a-Cop said, “It was fun. I’ve had a good time.”
Sheriff Wood said next year they would like to have the breakfast somewhere in Meigs County with plans being discussed to make that possible. He also credited Lori Miller and Tina Richards, both work for Farmers Bank and part of Loyalty is Forever, with making Shop-with-a-Cop possible. He said Loyalty is Forever has helped raise money for various projects including the canine project, Live Saver for seniors and the upcoming drug prevention event at the Meigs County Fair. He said there are plans being made to have an event at the fair that is positive and brings the drug free message to youth in particular.
“We’ve go to try to stop this somewhere,” Sheriff Wood said of the drug epidemic in Meigs County. He said positive events like Shop-with-a-Cop may make the difference in a young person’s life. He added concerning the way to address the drug problems, “We have to come together as a community.”
Law enforcement participating said they enjoyed the event as well and the positive interaction with young people.
Throughout the year Loyalty is Forever works to raise money with bake sales, the Ugly Christmas Sweater Bingo and other events to make the event possible at Christmas.