ROCKINGHAM — For the third year in a row, Walmart will sponsor the Shop With a Cop program which selects children from the Richmond County School System and gives them $100 to do Christmas shopping for themselves and loved ones accompanied by a Rockingham police officer.
School counselors select 10 children for the program to get paired with an officer who takes them to Twisted Treats for ice cream after lunch on their last day of school before Christmas break, Dec. 20.
“The officer will walk around and speak with them about goals in their life, staying out of trouble, the importance of their grades and their education,” said Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly.
A Walmart employee also accompanies the children to help them keep track of how much money they’ve spent, according to Brian Fore, manager of Walmart’s Rockingham location.
“They get to buy whatever they want but what we’ve seen is a lot of times they don’t buy just for themselves, they buy for their parents or their brother or sister or something,” Fore said.
Walmart contributed $1,000 to help fund the program as part of its community grant. The Rotary Club contributed $500 and Cascades regularly contributes to the program but has not determined how much they will give for this year yet, according to Kelly.
The chief said the program has been a hit with the children and encourages them to get to know their local police officers.
“I’ve seen kids out here not in uniform who just recognized me or other officers and come up and talk with us,” Kelly said. “I think it’s an important program and something that the police department plans to continue.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.