Last Christmas was merrier for 30 local kids because Shop with a Cop embraced them with the spirit of the season.  Chief Jay Niles’ department took local kids who might need a boost on a shopping spree, in the company of their own, Columbia Township’s finest.

Shop with a Cop donations topped $14,000 last year, making it possible to double the number of kids to 30.

Action central for this year’s fundraiser will again be the Eagle’s Nest Bar & Grill, Saturday, October 28, from noon – 3 pm.   Checks can be made out to Columbia Township with Shop with a Cop in the memo line.

How did things go in 2022?  Shop with a Cop progressed over two days. Both mornings, John Lefere, and is wife Susan, pulled up to the school in their giant motor home.  As he greeted the group, John placed a Shop with a Cop medallion in every kid’s hands.  Then the entourage boarded the vehicle.  Escorted by police vehicles with lights flashing, they made their way to Walmart.  The kids picked out presents for others in their family.  They then traveled to the Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club, where club members helped the kids wrap the presents.  Each kid was then surprised with a gift of his or her own.  How did the police match each kid to a gift?  They became Santa, and using their detective skills, investigated what each kid wanted.  Oh, the wonderful mystery of opening a present when you’re a kid!

Chief Niles says there is added value to the program.  “Shop with a Cop gives kids a chance to get to know the police in a friendly way.”

The program works like this.  Donors make Shop with a Cop possible.  As mentioned above, checks should be written to Columbia Township with “Shop with a Cop” in the memo line.  They can be dropped off on Saturday, October 28, noon – 3 pm at the Eagle’s Nest or at the Columbia Township office.

Police Chief Jay Niles, along with John LeFere, Eagle’s Nest owner Blair Huff, and John Karkheck will accept contributions on behalf of the program.