Christmas is the giving season, and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office celebrated that ideal by making the holiday a little merrier for several local children.
The second annual Cops and Kids event, hosted by the St. Charles Parish Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #15, saw deputies “adopt” 28 children and bring each of them on a gift-shopping spree fitting of the season.
Each child was given a $100 budget and allowed to go through the store, Walmart in Boutte, which sponsored and hosted the event, and pick what they wanted. They could spend the money how they wanted, with one rule to follow: one of the gifts must be for a family member.
“The purpose is for them to know that it’s just as much about giving as it is receiving,” said St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes. “So, usually, the deputy would guide them to a section to help pick out a piece of jewelry for their mother, for example. For the older kids, it also helps them work out a budget in their mind.”
Yoes said a number of deputies truly got into the spirit of the event.
“Some of them were big suckers for the whole thing,” Yoes said with a chuckle. “(The child) would go over the budget and they’d pay the difference themselves. They really enjoyed the whole experience.”
The event is nationally-driven and sponsored by the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“We wanted to do it the year before last and we started a little late. But it’s something where we felt it was a great chance to give back to the community,” said Yoes.
The names of the children came from a mix of suggestions by school teachers and contacts officers had made through interacting with families in the community.
Much of the funding came from the annual police lodge dues, while outside donations helped bump the original planned number of children up to 28.
“This year was great, people really wanted to help out,” said Greg Cosse, President of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 15. “This year they came up and just started handing us checks. We had 28 children this time since we had enough money to include more than 20. Every year we hope to make it bigger and bigger.”
Yoes also credited Walmart for making a big assist with the effort.
“They deserve a big shout out,” Yoes said. “They were absolutely perfect. They set up a place for registrations, they gave discounts and provided breakfast for all the participants. They really accommodated us and it turned out to be a really nice event.”