About 86 children didn’t seem to mind waiting a month to Christmas shop with Kentucky State Police troopers last Thursday.
KSP Det. Clayton Stamper said he had to reschedule the “Shop with a Trooper” event three times because of inclement weather. KSP Post 13 in Hazard serves Letcher, Knott, Leslie, Perry and Breathitt counties. Stamper said school in all five counties had to be in session before the event could take place because the police officers picked the students up at each of their schools before bringing them to the Whitesburg Walmart on Jan. 6.
“It’s usually the first Wednesday or Thursday in December,” he said. “I don’t think anybody had school that day in the entire post district.”
It snowed the next week and then students were on Christmas break.
“I would have liked for them to come before Christmas, but the weather didn’t permit,” said Felicia Bates, Whitesburg Walmart department manager.
Thursday morning the store was filled with 86 children, 35 KSP employees, school employees and local officials who assisted with the shopping trip. About $125 was spent on each child.
Letcher County Winston Meade said one of the children he helped picked out gifts for her brother before she even thought about getting items for herself.
“ You would be surprised at what kids buy,” said Stamper. “ They’ll use the money to buy something for their family members. I’ve seen kids before buy presents for their parents.”
Representatives at the Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSC) at each school suggested students who would benefit from the “Shop with a Trooper” program.
One of the main goals of the program is to take underprivileged children out of their normal environment and give them a few hours of positive attention.
“Another goal of the program is to show the kids that police offi cers aren’t bad,” said Stamper.
Stamper said fund-raising for the shopping trip isn’t too hard.
“A lot of times when people find out what it is for, we get donations pretty easily,” he said.
While children were shopping a man gave a trooper $86 to help with the event.