In a sign of the times, parents were especially appreciative of Titusville’s “Shop with a Cop” event this year. On Saturday morning, parents dropping their kids off were repeating “thank you, thank you…” over and over again to volunteers. While organizers are used to appreciative parents, it was obvious that the tough economy has made this year’s event that much more important. “Even the kids were thanking us more than usual this year”, said PAL Executive Director Greg Shaw, who is also a Titusville Police officer. “This event is clearly helping out a lot of families today”, Shaw added.
In a partnership between Titusville Police and the Titusville Police Athletic League, 75 kids were assigned a chaperone and given a $75.00 gift card to shop at Wal-Mart in Titusville. Police Officers and PAL volunteers donate their time for the event. “Our officer’s look forward to thisevent as much as the kids do”, said Assistant Police Chief John Lau. “It’s a rewarding experience for everyone involved” Lau added.
After being paired up with an officer or volunteer at police headquarters at 7:00 a.m., the kids are bused to Wal-Mart by NASA –who donates their bus service each year. Santa was waiting at the entrance to Wal-Mart to greet the kids when they arrived.The gift cards are funded by proceeds from the Annual Anthony “Lee” Miller Golf Tournament and a generous donation by Wal-Mart. McDonalds also helped out this year providing food and an appearance by Ronald McDonald.