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Police, firefighters prepare to spread holiday cheer

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Programs help clothe, provide toys to needy children

By Sarah Bennett

Local law enforcement and emergency response agencies are gearing up for annual shopping programs with a goal to brighten the holiday season for children from less fortunate families.

Many area police and firefighters participate in programs such as Christmas for Kids, Shop-with-a-Trooper and Shop-with-a-Firefighter to provide children with warm clothing and at least one toy during the Christmas season.

“This is all about helping a child with shoes, a coat,” said Virgil Willoughby, spokesman for Elizabethtown Police Department, “those items that will get a child through the winter.”

Elizabethtown Fire Department uses money raised through charity events throughout the year to host its Shop-with-a-Firefighter, Chief Mike Hulsey said.

In coordination with Elizabethtown Independent Schools, he said the department reaches out to three to five kids each year.

A shopping date has not been set yet, he said.

Vine Grove Police Department hosts Christmas for Kids and raises money for shopping by holding an auction, City Clerk Jackie Johnson said.

The city hosts a free chili dinner at 6 p.m. Nov. 29 at the community center in Vine Grove City Hall, which is followed by the Christmas for Kids auction, she said.

All proceeds go toward the shopping trip for underprivileged children, Johnson said, and the police department coordinates with Vine Grove Elementary School to identify students who would most benefit from participating.

Police and children will make the shopping trip at 7 a.m. Dec. 8 at Walmart in Radcliff, she said.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 40 in Elizabethtown collects money for its Shop-with-a-Cop throughout the year, Willoughby said.

Donors can send donations to the department at 300 S. Mulberry St. or deliver it in person, Willoughby said.

Lodge 40 is shopping with children at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13 at Walmart in Elizabethtown, he said.

Two days later, F.O.P. Lodge 39 in Radcliff hosts its Shop-with-a-Cop at 7 a.m. at Walmart in Radcliff, said Bryce Shumate, spokesman for Radcliff Police Department.

Shumate said both F.O.P. lodges collaborate with school resource staff at Hardin County Schools when picking students to participate.

Those interested in making donations to the Radcliff F.O.P. can contact Shumate at RPD at (270) 351-4714.

Kentucky State Police Post 4 started collecting donations this month for its Shop-with-a-Trooper, spokesman Norman Chaffins said.

The Elizabethtown post covers eight counties and reaches out to 10-15 children per county, about 100 kids total, he said.

Anyone interested can make donations at the post at 1055 N. Mulberry St., Chaffins said.

State police will make two shopping trips with children, he said. The first is Dec. 19 at Walmart in Hillview and the second, Dec. 20 at Walmart in Leitchfield.

Children who participate in Shop-with-a-Trooper are those state police encounter on runs throughout the year, such as on a domestic violence or drug-related call, he said.

That Post 4 is able to help some of the children they encounter and find in poor living situations is “the joy of the whole thing,” Chaffins said.

“We take notice of that,” he said. “We don’t just respond and leave.”

Sarah Bennettcan be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.