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Stow -- Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake police departments, as well as many other area departments, worked together to bring area youngsters a better Christmas.
The Shop With a Cop program took place on Dec. 15, with a contingent of police cruisers traveling to the Walmart on Hudson Drive in Stow.
Silver Lake Police Sgt. Dann Nivens said that 365 children participated in the shopping spree this year. In addition to Silver Lake, participating police agencies included Cuyahoga Falls, Akron, Boston Heights, Munroe Falls, Tallmadge, Stow, Franklin Township, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Summit County Sheriff's Department, University of Akron, Peninsula, Richfield, Bath, Fairlawn, Copley, Norton, Uniontown, Twinsburg, Medina Township and the Ohio National Guard.
Nivens said 10 students from Silver Lake Elementary School went on the shopping trip with 24 volunteers and six village police officers from the community.
The Cuyahoga Falls Police Department took 12 youngsters to Shop With a Cop, according to Sgt. Mark Hawley, who added about 18 city police officers (including a retired officer who volunteered) participated, and about four or five other officers sold raffle tickets. The selling of those tickets helps raise money for the event.
The Silver Lake Police Department hosted a breakfast at the police station for the children, and the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department had doughnuts, milk and juice for the youngsters when they gathered at the station. After the shopping trip, a pizza and hamburger lunch for all the children took place at Lakeview Elementary School in Stow.
The village's police department provided each child with money to spend at Walmart and a gift card to Giant Eagle to purchase groceries for a holiday meal. A group of girls calling themselves Girls That Run, from Silver Lake Elementary, donated $1,269 from a fundraiser to the program, said Nivens.
"All funding was provided by generous donations from our community, and Don Sitts Auto Group," said Nivens.
Hawley said each child assisted by the Falls Police Department received a Walmart gift card to purchase gifts. Hawley added that Don Sitts Auto Group is "one of our big sponsors," who donated "quite a bit of money" to the cause and, during the last two years, provided additional Walmart gift cards.
"It's pandemonium at Walmart [for Shop With a Cop]," said Hawley.
The children in need are identified through the school system, said Hawley and Nivens.
According to Nivens and Hawley, each department raises money for Shop With a Cop by selling raffle tickets and accepting donations.
"100 percent of the donations stay in the program, and 100 percent of the donation is tax deductible," stated Nivens. "The tickets are $1 each, or 6 for $5."
He noted the raffle prizes were a donated iPad 2, a donated 32-inch LCD television, and cash prizes of $200 and $100.
The Richfield Police Department handles all of the logistics associated with the raffle, including the printing of the tickets and the acquisition of the prizes.
Nivens said the department is taking donations for the next Shop With a Cop. Donors should make checks payable to Silver Lake Shop With a Cop and should mail the checks to the attention of either Nivens, or Sgt. Mark Kennemuth, at Silver Lake Village Hall, 2961 Kent Road, Silver Lake 44224.
Hawley said his department is also accepting donations for the 2013 version of Shop With a Cop. Checks should be made payable to Shop With a Cop, and can be mailed to the police department c/o Hawley, 2310 Second St., Cuyahoga Falls 44221.
phone number: 330-541-9421