Shop With a Cop

Shop with a Cop a celebration of community giving

December 8, 2011 // 0 Comments

‘It was something that meant a lot to me’ by BETH ALTENA When Maria Arel was in fifth grade she was one of the kids looking at winter coats, mittens and boots with a Rockford police officer and a helper by her side. Today she is a high school senior, a member of a new service group, Rotary Interact, and a volunteer herself. Arel was one of dozens of people who took part in this year’s Rockford Shop with a Cop at Meijer on Ten Mile Road. “It’s great to be able to give back,” said Arel at the event. Students whose families are struggling are chosen to be given $100 in necessities and one toy item with the help of Rockford police officers, who bring a spouse, family member or friend to make the experience less intimidating than it might otherwise be for the children—escorted by a policeman or woman without a parent along. Every officer in the department—with the exception of one “minding the shop”—volunteer the two hours-plus to help the kids pick out items, check out at the cash registers, and then relax with snacks and Santa at the store. The police are there off the clock and at no cost to taxpayers. Meijer has participated in each of the eight times Shop with a Cop has taken place here in Rockford, implemented by Chief Dave Jones in his first year leading the department. Meijer and the Rockford Lions donate the food, beverages, the $100 in goods and a little something else. Store Director Phil Morrow said he looks forward to the event and the kindness he sees each year. As an extra bonus, for each student who has been given the $100 in purchases, Morrow passes out an additional $25 gift certificate. “Today this event is for you. Now you have the chance to do something nice for someone else,” he said to the students. The Rockford Lions, one of our local service clubs, always have members on hand to push carts, help make selections and otherwise be helpful. The group gives $1,000 each year toward Shop with a Cop. Polly VonEschen, of Polly’s Passions (a good gift idea this holiday season), said the experience is always emotional. She remembers one […]

Rockford officers brighten the holidays for kids

December 10, 2009 // 0 Comments

“Especially with the officers in uniform, the kids can sometimes be a little afraid of their officer,” she said. In addition to helping a family which may be struggling financially this year, building public relations is part of the purpose. “We hope the children remember this positive experience with a police officer,” said police volunteer Carol Delp-Korzeja. Rockford Meijer Store Director Phil Morrow gave each child a $5 gift card and asked that they use it to buy something for someone else. “We have done this since the store opened and we will continue to do it,” he said. “It’s about helping families the people who come here to shop. We want to give back and help a family celebrate the holidays.”