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Shop With A Cop applications now being accepted

By Staff | Oct 24, 2019

The Cape Coral Police Department is accepting applications for the 17th annual Shop With A Cop program, which with a deadline of Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The Shop With A Cop program gives children whose families are experiencing financial difficulties an opportunity to engage with a Cape Coral Police officer in a positive atmosphere. The focus of the program is providing a great time for everyone involved.

This year the annual event will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, for those in kindergarten through 12th grade. The day will include an officer picking up the child between 8 to 8:15 a.m. and going to breakfast, which is sponsored by McDonald’s, before heading to Super Target for a group photograph and shopping. While shopping, the police officer helps the student select gifts for each of their family members, as well as something special for themselves.

The children will then wrap their presents at the police station, enjoy lunch by Moe’s Southwest Grill before being dropped off at home at approximately 1 p.m.

Cape Coral Police Department Community Outreach Project Coordinator Anella “Joy” Nyack said the day will also include a visit from Santa Claus and a photo booth at the police station.

“I want the kids to remember certain things. If I get a photo booth they have a picture with the officer and the memory goes on,” said.

Nyack said in previous years the children were given $50 to shop for themselves. This year with their major sponsor, Fraternal Order of Police No. 33, the amount she hopes will double.

“In the past the child only received $50 to shop. Some of the officers took money out of their own pocket to pay for them (presents),” she said.

Other monetary Shop With A Cop sponsors include eXp Realty, LLC Vasbinder International Home Team and Safeway Water. McDonald’s and Moe’s Southwest Grill are also sponsors.

The applications for Shop With A Cop are online at www.capecops.com, at the Cape Coral Police Department and at the Cape Coral Caring Center. Nyack said the School Resource Officers also hand out applications to the kids that they feel are in need.

“They have a better feel for their financial and emotional need, especially around the holiday time,” she said.

The application includes such information as the child’s name; school; grade; age; the name and relationship to shopper of everyone living in the household; as well as some of the child’s hobbies, so he, or she, can be properly matched with an officer. There is also a section where the applicant has to describe their financial situation.

“Anyone that lives under the roof gets a present. We allot a certain amount for each person,” she said.

The application must be mailed, or dropped off, no later than Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Cape Coral Police Department, 1100 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral, FL 33990, Attn: Shop With A Cop.

Nyack said 35 to 40 students are chosen for the Shop With A Cop program. The applicants who are accepted will be notified by phone no later than Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Once the children are chosen, Nyack said she posts their names, addresses and schools in the patrol area of the station and the officer chooses which child they would like to accompany during Shop With A Cop.

“Most of them pick an address close to home, or a child that goes to their school,” she said. “We have 26 resource officers now. Twenty-six officers will pick a child from their school. The remaining students left are picked by other officers.”

Those who are not chosen will be enrolled in the Fill the Boat Program, now in its 13th year. The Cape Coral Police Department marine boat will be located outside of Target, 1890 N.E. Pine Island Rd. Friday, Dec. 6, from 9 to 5 p.m. and again on Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Super Walmart, 1619 Del Prado Blvd.

“Those shopping in the area can donate toys for the kids,” she said. “Those toys come back to the station. I separate according to gender and age.”

The toys are bagged and an officer drops off the presents to the home of the recipients of the Fill the Boat Program and parents wrap them up.

Nyack said the Shop With A Cop program leans more towards helping youth who need more interaction, as well as experiencing financial needs. The Fill the Boat program is geared towards kids who may not need that interaction as much, but are still experiencing financial needs.

“Only the children get presents,” she said of the Fill the Boat program.