DCSO preparing for 'Shop with a Cop' program

Donations sought

BEND, Ore. - Planning and preparations are underway for the 2016 Deschutes County Sheriff's Office's Shop with a Cop program.

Shop with a Cop is a joint venture between local law enforcement agencies throughout Deschutes County, local Walmart stores, and McDonalds. Its primary focus is to help make the holidays a little brighter for less-fortunate families, and provide an opportunity for children to engage in positive police interaction.

The dates for this year's events are:

* Tuesday, December 13th, Redmond Walmart, from approximately 1-5pm
* Wednesday, December 14th, Bend Walmart, from approximately 1-5pm
* Thursday, December 15th, Bend Walmart, from approximately 1-5pm

This will be the sixteenth year this event has taken place. The program has come a long ways since its inception in 2001; that year, 20 school-aged students went shopping, and the $1500 in donations came from employees at the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.

During 2015's program, 111 school-aged children (grades 1-12) from schools in Deschutes County participated, shopping for approximately 512 family members. Many times, the students are hesitant to get anything for themselves, instead being more concerned with other family members.

The officers always try and ensure that the student shoppers get something for themselves, and, many times, a warm winter coat or a new set of snow boots "magically" appears in the shopping cart.

Gifts are not always "fun and game" items; they often include shoes, clothing, personal items, household items and other needed supplies. In addition this program assists children and families throughout the year with basic needs during emergencies.

Shop with a Cop is completely funded by donations from our community. Many businesses, organizations, and individual citizens give money to the program. No tax dollars are spent on this program. In addition to shopping with the students, SWAC partners with Food 4 Less to help provide a Christmas meal for some families. We apply 100% of your donations to this local program.

Participating students are referred primarily by a community-based advocacy group that works directly with school aged children at most schools throughout Deschutes County. Additional students are referred via the Central Oregon Partnership for Youth (COPY) program, which provides positive mentoring for children of incarcerated parents.

The selected students are picked up by officers at their respective schools and driven to Walmart where they then enjoy a "one-on-one" shopping experience with their uniformed partner. While gifts are being wrapped, the students are treated to lunch, donated by the in-store McDonald's restaurants.

Although Shop with a Cop is overseen and coordinated by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, its continued success stems from the participation of officers from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, police departments throughout Deschutes County, the Oregon State Police and U.S. Forest Service, National Park Services, and BLM law enforcement.

Shop with a Cop has also been overwhelmingly successful in past years because of the outstanding generosity, in the form of monetary support, from local citizens and businesses. Volunteer support for the program has always been a critical part of the program's success as well.

For businesses and citizens who would like to make a monetary contribution towards this year's program, donations can be dropped off during normal business hours at the main Sheriff's Office in Bend, or at the Sheriff's Office's substations in La Pine and Sisters. Checks, made out to "DCSO SWAC", can also be mailed to:

Deschutes County Sheriff's Office
Attn: Shop with a Cop program
63333 West Highway 20
Bend, OR 97703

Thank you so much for your support...together, we CAN make a big difference in the lives of many individuals and families!

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