In just a few weeks, local law enforcement will be hosting the Santa, Cops and Kids program for area children who have experienced hardships over the past year.
The annual event, originally scheduled for Dec. 10, will be held on Dec. 17.
Law enforcement officials from various local, county and state agencies will come together to share an evening of shopping and holiday fun with these children.
Sgt. Dave Swenson of the Valley City Police Department, coordinator of the “Shop with a Cop,” said officers from the VCPD and Barnes County Sheriff’s Office along with law enforcement personnel in Jamestown, Carrington and Lisbon, all assist in the event.
Swenson said the evening will begin with officers taking the children out for supper at Pizza Corner at 5:30 p.m., and then they’ll drive to Shopko, where officers will accompany the children to help them shop for gifts for siblings and themselves.
The parents and/or guardians of the children often write suggestions of what gifts to get on a form.
Once they go shopping, children will return to the Law Enforcement Center in Valley City, which is decorated with Christmas decor.
“We usually have a surprise visit from Santa,” Swenson said.
There, the children can wrap the gifts that they have bought.
The event is funded by the donations from businesses and individuals from the Barnes County area. All funding acquired is used entirely for the children and is spent locally to support the economy in Barnes County.
“One hundred percent of the money raised stays for the Barnes County Cops and Kids program,” Swenson said.
Donations can be mailed to Santa, Cops and Kids Program, 216 Second Ave. NE, Valley City, N.D. 58072.
The children who can participate are chosen based on referrals from Barnes County Social Services
Social Services does four things for eligible families around the holidays. Area churches and Social Services provide Thanksgiving food baskets, the Barnes County Food Pantry provides Christmas food baskets and Shopko puts up a “We Care” Christmas tree.
“The tree contains wish lists of kids in the community, and the community can fulfill those wish tags,” Katie Pommerer, human service aide for Barnes County Social Services, said.