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Mark Scott: Shop With a Cop campaign underway

I was checking out at a local store several days ago (before Halloween) and noticed that the Christmas decorations were already going up in the store. As I drove back through town, I saw that volunteers were busy wrapping the downtown street light poles with garland. I got home and mentioned my observations to Julie and she told me that some of her friends were planning to put up their Christmas trees the weekend after Halloween. Now don’t get me wrong. Fall is my favorite time of year, followed closely by Christmas, but it seems like the holiday rush starts earlier each year and that Thanksgiving has become a minor speed bump in the rush to get to Christmas.
I think if we all slow down just a little and reflect, we will see that we all have a lot to be thankful for. A good way to express our gratitude is to share our blessings with those around us who are less fortunate. For the past two years, the Americus Police Department and GSW Public Safety have worked together to sponsor the Shop with a Cop Program. We partner with DFACS and the Southwest Georgia Children’s Alliance to identify local children who aren’t expecting much for Christmas. Most of these kids are in foster care. We pair each child with an officer and give them a $100 gift card which they can spend on anything they like. I’ve been doing this at every agency I’ve worked at for over 20 years and year after year, I see kids who have little more than the clothes on their backs use the money to buy gifts for friends and family rather than spend it on themselves.
The first year we did this in Americus, we were able to sponsor 10 kids. Last year, we doubled it to 20 kids. This year, we are planning to sponsor 30 kids, but we can’t do it without help from our community partners. We need businesses and individuals to step up and donate this year to make this event a success. Donations are tax deductible and should be made to the Americus Police Benevolence Fund. Donations can be dropped by the police department Monday through Friday during regular business hours. If you have a large donation and can’t make it by APD, just give me a call and I will be glad to come by and pick it up! Together, we are making a difference in this community. This is one small way to make a difference in a child’s life.

Mark Scott is chief, Americus Police Department. Contact him at 229-924-3677.