Shop With a Cop: The family of Chin-MacQuoid-Fleming-Harris felt our hearts burst with joy when we learned more about this program performed annually by our Park City police officers.  It brought tears to our eyes when we found out the scores of children and families who are served by it.

This Saturday, December 1st, our local law enforcement officers will carry on an annual tradition they began many years ago. They’ll gather children who live among us, but who don’t share in the financial advantages most Parkites take for granted and take them Christmas shopping. Beginning with a hotel breakfast, kids are then escorted in a cavalcade of patrol cars replete with sirens blasting to their partner retailer, WalMart.  Once there, an officer and child grab a cart and start walking the aisles. The kids pile items in, choose wrapping paper for it all, and head for the checkout stand. All funds, time, and effort are 100% covered by volunteer efforts – not one penny comes out of the public budget.

This isn’t a public relations ploy – this is all about the kids and the true meaning of Christmas: giving. “Every year, I’m so moved by what the children chose to put in their cart,” said one participating officer.  “Sure, there’s always a toy they’ve been dreaming about, but most of their thoughts are with their family. Into the cart goes a new pair of gloves for Dad because he works outside, warm socks and bright hats for siblings, and always something special for their Mom.”

  

Shop With A Cop is a national program that is organized locally, community by community. Police officers in Park City are deeply aware that they want to develop trusting relationships with the people they protect and serve, and the best way to start this is with the very young. Said another officer, “If I can show just one child a year that I sincerely care about them, by the time they are adults they won’t be afraid to call me when they need help. In return, I receive the pleasure of knowing I’ve made Christmas something truly joyful for a whole family.”

Donations to pay for this program are also collected individual-by-individual. At Berkshire-Hathaway, the hat goes around and everyone pitches in what they can. Agents, brokers, and support staff feel they are supporting a charity that’s unsullied by hidden agendas. Nobody uses it in their advertising; nobody boasts about how much they gave.  “We simply want to remember and help the members of our community who are struggling financially during the holidays,” said Suzanne Harris. “In our town, we’re all in this together, and we work at taking care of each other.”

So, if you see a string of patrol cars this Saturday with full-on sirens and lights, don’t run for cover – wave and smile! You’ll be looking at the happiest bunch of kids you’ve ever seen! We at Chin-MacQuoid-Fleming-Harris ask you to join us in appreciating everything our police department does for our community, and for making this holiday season one of joy for these children and their families.

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