The Durant Police Department’s fourth annual Shop with a Cop program had Wal-Mart buzzing with police, volunteers and families getting ready for a Christmas they only dreamed of.
This year, the Durant Police Department was also joined by the Calera Police Department, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
This is the first year that other agencies have joined the Durant Police Department for the event. Approximately $10,000.00 was raised for the event.
This aided approximately 23 local families this Christmas season. Children from the local youth shelter will also receive gifts during the program.
Officers and volunteers were given information on families they are assigned to help along with a dollar amount to spend on each family.
They then separated children and parents while shopping so no family member could see the gifts being bought for them.
Wal-Mart closed off one lane for private use for the event Thursday morning. After the gifts were purchased, they were taken to the back of the store to be wrapped before being taken home for Christmas.
Volunteer Martha Haislip said she volunteered and referred a family. She said she referred a woman who is raising her nine-year-old grandson on her own. “I knew she really needed it,” said Haislip.
Some families referred themselves in a time of need. Pam Anderson said she heard about the program from the news and thought she would call and see about getting in the program.
Anderson’s family hit hard times when she lost her job and her daughter had an accident at a playground that left her with a broken femur.
Her young daughter was in a full body cast after the accident until just one day before the event. Anderson said it has been hard on the family because they have to go back and forth to Oklahoma City for her daughter’s doctor’s appointments.
With only one income and the expense of the accident, Anderson said that without this program, she did not know how she would have afforded Christmas for her four children.