Shop with a Cop helps kids in need Sunday

PHOTO BY JACOB GURNEY Sgt. Jared Watson of Tiffin Police Department performs a magic show while children look on during the Shop with a Cop event Sunday at Walmart, 2801 W. SR 18.

Area youths were able to pick out various items and toys during the annual Shop with a Cop event at Walmart Sunday.

Deputy Christopher Potter of Seneca County Sheriff’s Office said during the event, officers help families purchase necessities such as hats, coats and boots. He said there is a budget for each child and after the necessities were taken care of, the children were allowed to pick out a toy.

After that, the kids went to another area where they could meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy refreshments and watch a magic show while parents finish the list and picked out more gifts so the children could be surprised on Christmas, Potter said.

About 47 children were helped during the event, he said.

Potter said he wanted to say thank you to all the businesses and residents that donated to the Harold J. Fraley Sr. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 128 for Shop with a Cop. He said without their support and help, none of this could happen. Letters are to be sent to the businesses that donated to the lodge.

Sgt. Jared Watson of Tiffin Police Department said he wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the lodge.

“It is the support of people in the community that makes this possible,” he said.

Potter said Walmart donates wrapping paper, bags and snacks, and Pam Biller donated more than 175 knitted hats to be given away to children.

“I want to thank, personally, Walmart Assistant Manager Jil Kin. She did above and beyond what we needed her to do to make today extremely easy. Her help was amazing,” he said.

Potter gave thanks to Sentinel Career and Technology Center and its students for their assistance and for playing “a vital role in helping us.”

Watson said about 30 law enforcement officers and public safety students were there during the event. Potter said law enforcement from Tiffin Police Department, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, Green Springs Police Department, Republic Police Department, Adult Parole Authority, and relatives of law enforcement helped during the event.

Potter said the Shop with a Cop event is their opportunity as FOP Lodge members to give back to the community and to help those in need during the holiday season.

“It is our opportunity to interact with kids outside of our normal interactions and to be one on one with the kids,” he said. “Everyone that comes here does it because they love it and enjoy it.”

Watson said he has been a part of the event for 12 years and he “absolutely” looks forward to it each year.

“This is a great opportunity for members of the community in need to have a positive experience with law enforcement,” he said.