With lists in hand and an officer at their side, children made their way down store aisles in search of all the items on their shopping lists during today’s Shop with a Cop event.
Early this morning, 36 children from all over Sweetwater County had the chance to pick out gifts for themselves and loved ones with local law enforcement officers.
For more than 20 years, the Kiwanis Club of Rock Springs has sponsored the event. And today, the kids were shopping with officers at Walmart. This year, law enforcement personnel from the Rock Springs Police Department, Green River Police Department, Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Highway Patrol participated. Firefighters from the Rock Springs Fire Department also helped out.
Around 7:15 am, officers gathered at the store to receive their assignments. Once they received the child’s information, they picked those children up at their homes and brought the children to the store. Upon arrival, the children had the opportunity to take a photo with a police officer and received a gift card for $125 that they could use to spend on themselves, their family, or whatever they choose.
As the child shops, the officer helps them pick out items and tally up how much all of it will cost. Children excitedly took the officers around the store trying to find everything on their lists as the officers helped them.
After checkout, volunteers wrapped the presents for the children with supplies donated from Walmart including wrapping paper, scissors, tape and tags. The children were excited to pick out what kind of paper they wanted each gift wrapped in.
With gifts wrapped, the children had one more stop to make before leaving the store. All of the children had a quick visit with Santa, who usually makes an appearance on a Rock Springs Fire Department fire truck.
Then, the children not only meet their parents with gifts in hand but a $20 gift certificate from Kiwanis so the children can take their family out to breakfast.
The children who participate in the Shop with a Cop program were preselected by local agencies.
Wyoming Hunger Initiative
The food baskets provided on Saturday morning were a part of the Wyoming Hunger Initiative.
Wyoming Hunger Initiative was launched in October 2019 after First Lady Gordon spent months on the road visiting local anti-hunger efforts around the state. Instead of reinventing the wheels, Wyoming Hunger Initiative seeks to support local efforts and provide resources as needed to produce sustainable solutions to hunger.
During 2020, law enforcement from all over the cowboy state have volunteered at mobile food pantries to assist with parking, distribution and safety. As a result, Wyoming Hunger Initiative partnered with the Shop with a Cop program this year to provide meals for participating young people who may be in need of a holiday meal. In addition, it is our hope to shed a positive light on the work that law enforcement does.
Wyoming Hunger initiative seeks to find and support Wyoming solutions to the challenge of food insecurity, which affects approximately 71,000 residents statewide. Wyoming Hunger Initiative is the official initiative of First Lady Jennie Gordon and is governed by the board of directors of the Wyoming Governors Residence Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.