Shop with a Cop on December 10


November 10, 2022

Every year the sheriff’s department invites 20 to 25 kids on a Christmas shopping spree at Walmart in Longview. Referrals come from various schools and agencies, including Wahkiakum and Naselle/Grays River schools, community outreach, corrections and from personal references. Sometimes the same children are nominated each year, but the event’s goal is to welcome new children before repeating those who have already participated. After a few years, they may be able to do it again.

Walmart gives the county sheriff’s office a community service grant for the event. On December 10, the youth will meet at 9 a.m. at the courthouse in Cathlamet, board a bus and ride to Walmart for the shopping portion of the day. Law enforcement personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, Washington Fish and Wildlife, state troopers, as well as members of local fire departments are invited to help, too, if there aren’t enough officers available for the shopping event. Some also come from other sheriff’s offices in the region to accompany the kids and help them find what they are looking for. Afterward, they will enjoy donated pizza from Papa Pete’s before heading home. Last year a fire truck accompanied the group out of town. When they came into Walmart, lights and sirens announced their arrival.

Donations received determine the total amount spent each year. Many of the children want to give gifts to others in their family, so the more donated to the fund, the more will be available to help them purchase gifts for their family members, as well as for themselves. Under-Sheriff Gary Howell told me of a child who really touched his heart. He said, “The boy wanted to give a bike to his sister because hers had been stolen. We decided that every child in his family would get a bike. It was a bit of a challenge gathering all the bikes together without the boy’s knowledge, but it was done. Every Christmas these events help us remember why we work in law enforcement, and they give us an opportunity to let the kids know we are as interested in them personally as they are interested in the gifts. It’s so much fun for us, as well as the kids. It’s a highlight for all of us here in the sheriff’s department. We often hear of times when the sheriff’s office is called out to a domestic situation in our area. Some of those such as domestic or fire calls, involve children and youth. Those who go out on those calls know of children in our community who need extra attention and assurance that the police are there to help them. Officers always reassure children that they are safe when an officer comes to help. This event is yet another opportunity for us to let families know we care about their children and want to help, especially at the holiday season.”

Additional money for the event comes from donations. If anyone would like to help with a financial gift to the fund, mail your donations in care of Raedyn Grasseth, Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office, PO Box 65, Cathlamet, WA 98612. Make your check out to Wahkiakum County Sheriff, Shop with a Cop.


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