The Capital City Chapter of the Alaska Peace Officers Association is asking Juneau residents to nominate local families for the upcoming ‘Shop With a Cop’ holiday event.
Now a five-year-old tradition, the event aims to make sure that every family in Juneau struggling to make ends meet has presents under the tree and a meal to eat on Christmas.
Law enforcement officers take children of the selected families shopping at Walmart to buy gifts for their family members and to purchase groceries for a holiday meal. The officers later return to the store and buy a present for the child they took shopping, a surprise for them.
The Juneau community raised $12,000 for the event last year, a record amount that allowed 43 children to ‘shop with a cop’ and enough money for holiday meals for 13 families.
Juneau Police Department Lt. Kris Sell said as generous as that was, it actually just “barely scratched the surface of how many kids in Juneau could use some extra attention and support, especially during this time of year when the kids are confronted with peers who are much better off financially.”
“We would love to host 50 kids (this year) but at $300 each, that is $15,000,” she said.
APOA, a nonprofit, is asking for monetary donations to support the event in hopes of raising at least $10,000. It costs about $200 for each child’s shopping trip, and the groceries for a full holiday meal with all the trimmings costs about $150.
“That few hundred dollars can give a child right here in Juneau, who needs attention and needs support, a memory he or she will have always,” Sell said, urging the community to donate. “The gesture tells a child very clearly he or she is worth the time, effort, and money… they are not worth less than their peers even when we know they feel that way sometimes because other kids have so much more.”
This is the first year the event’s organizers are doing a nomination process open to the public. Anyone can nominate a family by filling out a nomination form, available online on the “Shop With a Cop — Capital City Chapter of Alaska Peace Officers Association” Facebook page. Completed forms can be emailed to APOAccSwaC@mail.com, mailed to APOA, PO Box 20751, Juneau, Alaska, 99802, or dropped off during business hours at the Juneau Police Department police station (6255 Alaway Avenue), with marked attention to “Shop With A Cop,” or “SWAC.”
APOA emphasized that the parents/guardians of the children being nominated must be aware of the nomination, and that they must be willing to allow their children to participate.
The shopping event is scheduled to take place this year Dec. 19. The deadline for receipt of the nomination form is Dec. 10. Forms received after that deadline will still receive consideration, but priority goes to those filled out and received by the deadline.
For those who would like to donate to the event, donations can be sent to the aforementioned PO box number, dropped off at the JPD station (address above), or deposited into the APOA 411818 Savings Account at any Alaska USA branch. For all donations, organizers ask to indicate if you would like them to mail you a receipt.
For more information, check out the Shop With a Cop Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ccapoaswac/
Retired and active-duty officers with the Juneau Police Department, Capital City Fire/Rescue, Alaska State Troopers, the U.S. Coast Guard, SEADOGS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NOAA have all participated in the event in the past.