Enon police are set to host their annual Shop with a Cop event this Saturday.
Police Chief Lew Wilcox said the department has worked with the Greenon Local Schools to identify students who will get early Christmas presents this year thanks to donations from the community and the local police officers.
“We look forward to it,” Wilcox said. “The first year I wasn’t sure — sometimes you get cynical at this job. But going with the kids and seeing their faces is really uplifting.”
The Shop with the Cop tradition started about five years ago when Officer Ben Barry asked Wilcox’s permission try to start an event that would help children from low-income families in the Enon community. Wilcox said it’s possible that the children served wouldn’t get a gift if it wasn’t for the generosity of the community.
He said the children getting gifts will meet Saturday and head over together to Walmart with the police officers. There, they can choose whatever they want from the store, as long as it is age-appropriate.
“They can buy anything they want,” Wilcox said. “They can buy clothing, they can buy gifts for their family. They can buy a bicycle. Whatever they want.”
The chief said he has noticed children often pick a variety of items. Some run to the bicycle department and say they want a bike and that’s it. While others buy smaller items and get multiple things.
He said, however, what makes the most impact on him is when a child decides to use the money to buy gifts for others.
“One little girl went around the store and chose a gift for each of her family — her mom, dad, brother and her dog,” Wilcox said. “That really lasts with you.”
Wilcox said the department is close to raising enough money to pay for all the gifts, but always welcomes donations. He said if the department raises enough for this year, any additional donations will go into an account for next year’s Christmas.