On Saturday, Dec. 5, students from the College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Law Enforcement Program and Criminal Justice Club spent the morning at a local Kmart wrapping presents for 87 children. The volunteer effort was all in support of the Shop with a Cop program.
Officers from Canyon County, Owyhee County, Nampa Police, Parma Police, Wilder/Greenleaf Police, and Homedale Police met with children for breakfast at a local church. They proceeded to Kmart with lights and sirens in a low speed procession where they were greeted by nearly 100 volunteers and Santa. Each child shopped for gifts for their families with an officer before meeting with Santa and receiving a personal gift.
The CWI students participated by wrapping gifts, locating special items on the gift lists, and helping shoppers navigate the store. This marks the third consecutive year CWI students have taken part in the event. Many of them have described the morning as eye opening and life changing.
CWI Law Enforcement Program Chair LeRoy Forsman, who volunteered as Santa, adds that the event is amazing each year. “I’ve been involved in this almost every year since it started, first as an officer and now as Santa. The kids truly have the Christmas Spirit. As Santa, I’ve been asked for everything from gifts for their siblings, to getting their divorced parents reunited, to making people just be nice to each other. It really tugs at your heartstrings”.
The program has been in place locally for nearly 25 years. Children in need are identified through schools and other means. The officers volunteer their time for the event. Shop with a Cop is financed through community and civic organization donations as well as law enforcement organization donations.