POMEROY — Around 65 Meigs County children had the opportunity to spend part of their day shopping with law enforcement officers and other first responders on Friday.
This was the sixth year that the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office has hosted Shop with a Cop. The morning started out by having breakfast at the Senior Center — provided by the Meigs County Council on Aging’s Close to Home Catering — and then parading to Wal-Mart in Mason, West Virginia.
Each child is given a set amount of money that they could spend. It was highly suggested that they purchase at least one necessity item, such as shoes, a winter coat, etc. The rest of the money can be spent on anything they want. Sheriff Keith Wood said he often sees the kids buying gifts for parents, siblings or other people they know and love.
“Everything we see is bad, normally. But we like to see something good,” Wood said, adding he feels inspired each time they hold the event because he gets to see so many people “paying it forward.”
“It’s heart wrenching to see people in our community struggle,” Wood said. “But we’re all in this together.”
Children were selected from the Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services and each of the three school districts in the county. Along with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, children were accompanied by the Middleport Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Rutland Fire Department, Columbia Twp. Fire and Squad, Department of Wildlife, Racine Police Department, Holzer Security, Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office, Common Pleas Court employees, the probation office and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, according to Cheyenne Trussell of the sheriff’s office.
The event is made possible through community donations, fundraising, the Loyalty is Forever organization and Close to Home Catering. As fundraising projects, the sheriff’s office held a softball tournament this summer, participated in No Shave November, and had an ugly Christmas sweater bingo event.
In 2017, the Sheriff’s office raised around $5,000 and took 26 children shopping. According to Trussell, the money raised this year was around $14,000. Wood said one anonymous donor gave enough money to support 30 children this year.
The community can support Shop with a Cop by going to Farmers Bank and make a donation to the “Loyalty is Forever” account.
Kayla Hawthorne is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.