FOP 40 to help children with annual program

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Shop with a Cop set for Dec. 12

By Jeff D'Alessio

For members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 40, the impact of its annual Shop with a Cop program isn’t felt until weeks after officers take needy children shopping to make their Christmas a little brighter.

When thank-you cards arrive from schools and children who have been helped, officials understand the importance of their mission.

“It’s one thing to help a child,” Elizabethtown Police Department spokesman Virgil Willoughby said, “but when you see how much they appreciate it ... It truly is something when you see a card from them. It’s a very rewarding program for everyone involved.”

FOP 40, which includes EPD, Radcliff Police Department and Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, expects to provide a better Christmas for 210 children throughout Hardin County this year.

Willoughbysaid the departments have contacted school resource officers and they provided names of children in need.

Of the 210 children, 150 come from Hardin County Schools, 40 from Elizabethtown Independent Schools and 20 are “code call children” who might not be in school or are home-schooled.

Officials will spend $110 on each child.

“We use the first $100 for stable items like shoes, coats and underwear,” Willoughby said. “We use the other $10 for a toy or something of that matter.

“This is about the children,” he added.

FOP 40 is now raising money.

“This is the only time period of the year our lodge solicits for money,” he said. “It’s the single most important event that we do each year.”

Shop with a Cop is Dec. 12 starting around 8:15 a.m. at the Elizabethtown Wal-Mart. Willoughby said Wal-Mart makes a significant contribution to the program each year to help offset the program expense.

Last year, FOP 40 had 250 children selected for the program and 242 went on the shopping excursion.

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or at jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.

How to help

Donations can be dropped off at any of the agency offices or mailed to P.O. Box 474, Elizabethtown, KY 42702 or EPD, 300 S. Mulberry St., Elizabethtown, KY 42701. Checks need to be made payable to Shop with a Cop.