Whitesburg KY

Cops bought gifts for 82 children

Smiles were on nearly every face when 82 children joined dozens of Kentucky State Police troopers last month for a shopping spree at the Whitesburg Wal-Mart.

The Shop with a Cop program allows troopers to take time from their daily routines and help underprivileged children shop for clothing and toys. Wal-Mart employees also participate in the annual event.

“I love looking around and seeing everyone smile. We’re just happy that we can do this,” said Captain Jeff Caudill, commander of KSP Post 13 in Hazard.

Troopers and dispatchers from the Hazard post bring children they meet during the year to Whitesburg from Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, Letcher and Perry counties. Each child is allotted $125 to buy whatever he or she wants.

“A lot of kids wouldn’t have a Christmas if it wasn’t for this and other organizations,” said Caudill.

Jimmy Duncil, a KSP dispatcher, said the program brings a little joy to children at Christmas time.

One of the main goals of the program is to take the children out of their normal environment and give them a few hours of positive attention.

“The main reason we do this is to have some positive contact with kids,” said Trooper Jackie Pickrell, a Letcher County resident. “Most of our duties are negative and this is one of the positive things we do.”

Pickrell said the Shop with a Cop program helps teach the children that troopers are here to help them and should not be feared.

“It’s our way of giving back to the community,” said Pickrell.

Caudill said KSP personnel have been looking forward to shopping with children for weeks.

“It reminds us of what we do and why we do it,” said Caudill.

Employees at the Whitesburg Wal-Mart help raise money all year long to provide breakfast for the children and to help pay for the items they purchase.

“When kids come in they look sad and they are so happy when they leave,” said Felicia Bates, a department manager and community involvement coordinator at Wal-Mart. This year’s event was held on December 13.

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