Carbon County’s annual Shop-With-A-Cop event is returning this holiday season to bless local youngsters. This event is hosted each year by the local law enforcement agencies, including the Price City, Wellington, Helper and East Carbon police departments, the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, Utah Highway Patrol, USU Police, and Adult Parole & Probation.
Due to grant funding, local donations and more, the local law agencies are able to bless children with an opportunity that they may not have otherwise due to a myriad of circumstances: buying or receiving Christmas gifts.
This program and event is spearheaded by Price City Police’s Kelly Maynes. Last year, over 100 kids were helped thanks to Shop-With-A-Cop, and Maynes stated that he believes this year will likely serve even more. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Dec. 16. As always, a breakfast will be hosted. Once again, USU Eastern Dining Services is allowing participants to utilize the student center.
The breakfast will begin at 9 a.m. and will likely feature food donated from McDonalds. The children that attend the breakfast will also have a chance for a meet and greet and photos with the officers. Around 10 a.m., the children that are comfortable riding with an officer will load in for the makeshift parade to Walmart.
Generally, Maynes begins working on the year’s event in September, attempting to obtain funding and finalizing details. He stated that he is always amazed at how much the community always steps up, whether it is through donating or volunteering.
This is something that is especially awe-inspiring for Maynes, as he is someone that grew up himself in similar situations as some of the children that they help. For a lot of the officer, the event gives back that holiday spirit and helps them realize the impact they truly have on the community.
“It’s a lot of fun; it’s heart-wrenching,” Maynes said before explaining that so many children come with a list for everyone else but themselves. He then stated that it is not uncommon to see officers buying presents after the fact, as the children tend to spend their allotted money on others.
All of the officers that participate in Shop-With-A-Cop, except for the ones that are on duty that day, come on a volunteer basis, which Maynes believes shows a high level of dedication to the people they serve.
“Showing the impact you can have on the community by serving those in the community that really need it,” said Maynes.
The majority of the families that are selected really need the program, whether they need a positive interaction with law enforcement or they are facing not having anything under the tree during Christmas. Funding for this year came from the Utah Police Civilian Association, Komatsu Mining Corporation, Intermountain Electronics, the Tony Basso Group, Carbon Lodge #16 Masons, Bethel 3 Daughters and community donations.
Donations are accepted throughout the year for Shop-With-A-Cop. Donations may be made through the Price City utilities office or the Price Police Department. Those that go to the utility office to donate must specify that it is for Shop-With-A-Cop.