Allison Ericson, Valdosta Today News Director:
VALDOSTA — The ‘Shop With A Cop’ program received close to $2,500 dollars in donations over the past two weeks. The program was started 10 years ago by the Valdosta Police Department. VPD Officer, Vernotis Williams’ reasoning behind starting the program was due to the amount of burglaries during the Christmas holiday.
“Around the holiday season there was an increase in burglaries, well the thing that was mostly stolen were kids toys from under the tree,” Williams said. “Some officers and I got together to try and find out what we could do to put toys back in kids lives, so we raised funds.”
Over the past two weeks the VPD has raised enough money to keep the program afloat for this holiday season. Last year’s event helped 25 families in Lowndes County.
“This year’s funding was not coming in as good as I hoped, things have been pretty slow. I remember once when I went through Black Crow Media I got a little funding, so I thought maybe I’d go through them again,” Williams said.
The VPD realized many burglaries over the holiday season are caused by parents that do not have the funds for presents, or by kids who do not receive presents of their own. The ‘Shop With A Cop’ program prevents robberies by giving children gifts they may not otherwise receive.
“Black Crow Media is absolutely one of the main 50 reasons why this program is going to be a success,” Williams said. “I don’t want to bring down everyone else that donated, I got more money in two weeks than I did in the last month and a half and that was because of Black Crow Media.”
This years ‘Shop With A Cop’ event will take place at Wal-Mart, 3274 Inner Perimeter Rd. on Monday, Dec. 22. To qualify a child must be between the ages of 4-11, from Lowndes County, and referred by a Law Enforcement Officer.
“Anyone who wants to contribute can write a check payable to the City of Valdosta, they can mail it to me or call me and I’ll come pick it up,” Williams said.
The VPD is continuing to collect donations. To make a donation, call Officer Williams at 229-242-2600, ext. 4090 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.