Shop With A Cop gathers donations

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BERRYVILLE -- The fourth annual Carroll County Shop With A Cop effort got off to a good start last week when the Walmart Foundation donated $3,000 to the cause.

Organizers are rounding up other donations as well to provide a shopping opportunity for area children who might otherwise go without this holiday season.

Some choose to shop for their family members instead of themselves, said Capt. Alan Hoos, with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

Hoos has been involved with the effort since its conception here four years ago.

He said the first year they had 80 children participate and raised more than $8,000, which gave them the opportunity to also purchase gifts for some 20 seniors in retirement homes who didn't have family in the area.

Although the program is known as "Shop with a Cop" it enlists the help of all area law enforcement agencies and emergency responders.

Merlin Leach, with the Merlin Foundation, is also involved. The foundation is the non-profit organization that accepts the donations and selects the children to participate.

Leach said the children are screened first and he makes sure they haven't "shopped with a cop" before.

"They are impressible young children," Leach said, "and part of our goal is to build a bond between them and their local law enforcement and emergency service responders."

Anyone who wants to donate to the cause can call Leach at (870) 438-5437 or mail a check to the Merlin Foundation at 104 W. 3rd. St., Green Forest, Ar., 72638.

Hoos said they collected some $4,000 last year for the 40 children who shopped in 2010. He hopes to collect even more for this year's event, which is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 16 at Walmart.

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