Clark and Cowlitz agencies help over 200 children pick out presents
WOODLAND — Nearly ten years ago, Woodland Police Department and Walmart partnered to give 38 children Christmas presents who could not afford them otherwise.
Last week, they partnered up again, and blessed more than 200 children with gifts this holiday season.
“I think the most rewarding thing is most of the kids that we’re dealing with are in situations where if they didn’t have this, they wouldn’t have much of a Christmas,” said Officer Jim Keller of the Woodland Police Department. “The other thing is with these kids, a lot of times they only see us in a negative light. When we do show up, we’re usually taking somebody out of the home. So it’s nice to have a positive interaction with the kids.”
The ninth annual Shop with a Cop event featured over 50 officers from law enforcement agencies in both Clark and Cowlitz counties, as well as Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Patrol, Corrections and Tribal Police.
They gathered together at the Woodland Walmart to be paired up with children in their communities, and bless each child with $100 in Christmas gifts. The funding for the event comes increasingly from area businesses and individual donors.
“I appreciate all the officers donating their time for this. None of them are on the clock today and all of the businesses that donate and the parents for getting all these kids here,” said event organizer from the Woodland Police Department, Donny Conner. “These kids absolutely love it, and the parents. Makes their day.”
Ridgefield Police Chief, John Brooks, said just from Ridgefield, there were 40 children participating in the program. Many of the children also interact with his officers at library readings and community events, Brooks said.
“It’s really a nice event and Walmart does a great job,” Brooks said. “And we’re really thankful for Woodland for putting this all on because they’re really the driving force.”