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Shop with a Cop raises enough funds to help 164 local children this Saturday
Shop with a Cop raises enough funds to help 164 local children this Saturday

Deputy Christinia Nettles Tompkins serves pizza as part of a Shop with a Cop fundraiser.
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Dec. 17, 2009) — A last-minute fundraising push assured that 164 children will receive Christmas presents this Saturday from the Shop with a Cop program, according to Waynesville Police Department Sgt. Gwen Brankel.

“We are within budget; we made our final collection yesterday,” Brankel said. “The whole program is brining the community together and helping out to provide a better Christmas.”

As recently as Tuesday, Brankel had feared that the popular program would only be able to provide $80 per child instead of the $100 per child which has been standard in recent years, but the funding which came in near the end of the campaign ensures that each child will be able to receive the full amount. During Saturday morning’s Shop with a Cop event, officers from all five city police departments in Pulaski County, the sheriff’s department, local troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and military police from Fort Leonard Wood will join children in pushing carts through Wal-Mart to buy Christmas gifts.

“I love to take the children shopping,” Brankel said. “Last year, the children that I knew from working, they really needed it and me being able to take them shopping myself was a great benefit.”

Police officers wear their full uniforms while join the children in shopping, and the program is intended to help needy children, many of whom are from disadvantaged families who may not always have had good experiences with police, learn that officers want to help.

“I just think it will help reduce the negative image in the community with children toward law enforcement,” Brankel said.

The list of recipient children has been filled for this year, but those who may still want to make a donation may do so at any local police station, by mail to PO Box 207 in Waynesville, or to First State Bank in St. Robert.

“There’s always next year,” Brankel said.

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