Helping low income families worldwide
Held every December, the program's main service event pairs underprivileged and at-risk children ages 6-10 with a law enforcement officer for a shopping spree leading up to Christmas.
The UFIO Kids Christmas is an extension of the Fraternal Order Of Police, “Shop with a Cop” program. Giving community support to small town police departments by providing monetary support for low income families.
1. Raise money by either fundraising and/or donations.
2. Select families in need of assistance.
3. Provide gift cards to designated shopping establishments for each child selected.
This event started in 1989 when a small group of officers quite literally passed around a hat and collected money to take a single child in need shopping for toys. Each year since then the program has grown with thousands of kids being served, worldwide, over the past 30 years.
In 2016, Shop with a Cop became a stand alone 501(c)(3) organization with a mission of helping at risk and under-served children within the county. With any additional funds received, Shop with a Cop is able to assist children throughout the year. These children, usually identified by a school resource officer or an after-school program, may be in need of clothes or shoes for school, home items, or just some extra time and a friend to listen.
The traditional “Shop with a Cop " is a program that rewards children with the opportunity to purchase clothing and other necessities while shopping with a police officer. ... Shopping trips are funded by donations from community members and local businesses.
For many children, the first time they interact with a Police Officer is when a parent or sibling is being arrested or some other traumatic event. They don't understand why an Officer is arresting their loved one, they just know the Officer is taking them away.
The goals for Shop With a Cop are many. The program is intended to boost the children’s morale and build their self-esteem while allowing each participant to see officers in a non- intimidating setting. Likewise, the program fosters a positive relationship between youth and the Police. A police officer will be paired to escort each child around the store assisting with decision making practices and cost-effective purchasing. Most of all, it provides an opportunity for the participants to experience the gift of giving. Children not only shop for themselves, they also purchase gifts for their loved ones. After shopping, the gifts are wrapped by volunteers and given to the parents.
Applications for the Shop with a Cop December shopping program are not available to the public. At risk and underprivileged children are identified by referral from school resource officers, school guidance counselors, public aid workers, or other charitable organizations.