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Thursday, November 17, 2016

SANTA AND LOCAL POLICE AGENCIES TEAM UP FOR THE 24th ANNIVERSARY “SHOP WITH A COP”

Local police agencies and customer service staff are busy gearing up for the annual "Shop With A Cop" held December 10th at the Kmart in Wellsville.  For the 24th year in a row, Riverwalk Property Management and the Wellsville Kmart will again welcome underprivileged youngsters for a morning of Christmas shopping that they might not otherwise experience.

The program gives each child breakfast with Santa, a wrapped gift for themselves and cash to shop for gifts for their family members.  The bonus is that volunteers form the Wellsville Village Police, Allegany County Sheriff's Deputies, New York State Police, Andover Village Police, Bolivar Village Police,  Alfred Police Department, Belmont Village Police, Cuba Police Department, Alfred University Public Safety Department, Angelica Police Department and several other departments are on hand to serve as guides and helpers for the tiny shoppers.

With the involvement of the various police agencies, this shopping trip takes on a whole different character.  The children, some afraid of the police, have a chance to have breakfast with their "very own cop" and have him or her help them shop.  You can see and feel the bonding as the morning progresses.  The image of the husky State Trooper holding the hand of a small child as they seek out gifts, will stay with you for a long time.  The officers look forward to this special morning and enjoy it as much as the kids do.

Once chosen and paid for, the gifts are wrapped in colorful Christmas paper by     community volunteers, such as The Alfred Karate Club.  Then comes the final good bye from Santa and maybe a hug from a new friend in a police uniform.  Then it's back home with memories that will carry over all holiday season.

The cost for this program has been funded by donations from various groups and many generous individuals. The Department of Social Services has also helped tremendously with candidate selection.   In order for the program to be successful, donations for this year’s program will be needed.  It costs $40.00 to sponsor each child and the program could not continue without your support.    Through community support, in 2015, over 100 children participated in this program.  To sponsor a child, interested parties may contact Linda Bierman at the Wellsville Kmart or Steve Havey at the Greater Allegany County Camber of Commerce by December 7. The Kmart phone number is 585-593-0030, and the Chamber is 585-268-5500.