180 youngsters benefit from Shop With A Cop

The program raised $50,000 from the local community and businesses to give families an enjoyable holiday.
Posted on 12/11/2020
Hilltown Township police sergeant bends down to see what gift a young girl is holding.By Gary Weckselblatt

Approximately 40 law enforcement officers enjoyed their favorite event of the year Thursday night at the Richland Walmart as they received shopping lists and walked up and down the aisles with 180 youngsters - one at a time - as part of the Shop With A Cop program.

The Quakertown Police Department began the program about a decade ago to help the children of local families have their holiday dreams come true. Most of the participants benefitting from local donations are elementary-aged students in the Quakertown Community School District.

“Many of these families are going through life challenges,” said QPD Officer Bob Lee, a QCSD School Resource Officer. “Maybe a parent has lost a job or is on a military deployment. Perhaps there’s some other hardship. We would like these kids to have the opportunity to view police officers in a different atmosphere to promote positive relationships.”

And the officers enjoyed the experience as much as the children, though the COVID-19 masks they wore may have hidden their wide smiles this year. Officers from QPD, Richland Township (including Chief Ficco), Bedminster Township, Dublin Borough, Hilltown Township, Springfield Township, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission participated on their own time.

Ashton Rosenberger, who oversees applications and donations to the program, said the SWAC Committee raised $50,000 from generous members of the community and local businesses. To show how far SWAC has come through the work of the committee, the program began with 10 children and $1,000 10 years ago.

“It is heartwarming to see the local business continue to come together for our community families that need help this holiday season, even with the challenges that this year has brought,” the SWAC Committee stated in a release.

Each child chosen for SWAC received $150 for their shopping list. Parents received $100 to shop while their child was shopping with a police officer. Children also received dinner, a backpack filled with school supplies, and wrapping paper to wrap their gifts at home. Families unable to attend due to COVID-19 had officers shop for them. Officers will deliver the items to their households next week.

Said Officer Lee: “Quakertown is a blue-collar community, and the support has been awesome. The cops want to be here. We look forward to this.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

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