From Pencils to Pants: Let’s Go Shop With a Cop
Published on September 9, 2013 by Tiffany Coleman
(BOISE) Broadview University has stepped up to help local kids go back to school in style. For the second year in a row, the Boise campus has donated $1,000 to the Boise’s Shop With a Cop program. The donation went toward helping 10 children get the clothing and supplies they needed to start school.
The annual tradition took place bright and early on Saturday, Aug. 24. Starting at 7:30 a.m., sleepy-eyed kids and caffeine-seeking parents started forming a line outside of the K-Mart store in Boise. As they prepped to go inside, Boise police officers arrived on the scene—one-by-one—to form a welcoming committee just inside of the store’s front doors.
Shop with a Cop is a program sponsored by the Boise Police Association. Each year, the association rallies businesses in the community to help sponsor families who need a little extra help buying school supplies. Without this program, some kids may go to school without the clothes and supplies they need. This year, the organization helped 120 kids—each getting $100 to spend. In addition to the $100, K-Mart gave an extra 10 percent off of the kids’ purchases. On shopping day, each child was paired up with an officer to move about the store. Coats, shoes, pants and shirts were found in shopping carts along with paper, pencils and paints.
“I have been doing this for seven or eight years,” Sgt. Dennis Tolan of the Boise Police Department said. “One of these years I want to take my own kids so they can see how fortunate they really are.”
Tolan, who is also the BPA’s president, says one year he took around a girl who was very mindful of her money. Yet when it got to the end of their shopping journey, she wanted shoes that she couldn’t really afford.
“When I told her to go ahead and get them, she thought it was the best thing that had ever happened to her,” he said.
Boise Police Detective Bill Smith heads up the annual event. He says, “It helps kids in need and gives them a chance to interact with police officers in a positive environment.”
Nearly 40 police officers showed up to shop on this day. Detective Smith says some of them are veteran school shoppers—participating in every event since the program started 13 years ago.
“Some of these officers—including me—are student resource officers in local schools,” Smith says, “and we stay in contact with some of the children who go through this program. We’ve built many relationships over the years.”
Shop with a Cop is held twice a year—once during back-to-school time, the other during the holidays. The children chosen are all Boise residents who are referred to the association by local agencies involved in working with homeless families, those in transitional housing or other children that do not have the financial resources to afford school supplies and back-to-school clothes.
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