Shop-with-a-Cop outing makes wishes come true

Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune

Police officer Kayla Smith took two-year-old Amelia Butler on a shopping spree Monday at Wal-Mart as part of the annual Shop-With-A-Cop initiative. Officers gave 29 needy children $100 Wal-Mart gift certificates, according to police Officer Billie Neadham, who organized the effort. The children included pre-schoolers through eighth-graders.

Wal-Mart, a $486 billion corporation and the nation’s biggest private employer, paid $2,500 of the cost. Several local businesses also contributed money for the children as well as for six high school students. The high school students received $100 gift certificates for Best Buy and J.C. Penney. Gas cards for the children’s families were also given out in a drawing and the children went to McDonald’s for free Happy Meals after shopping.

Police have been doing the event since 2013 in conjunction with the Oberlin Schools, which selects the children. Neadham, the school district’s security officer, said the effort has received positive feedback from all involved: “There’s nothing like making a kid smile,” he said.