Englewood officers assist shoppers

Police volunteers join in on annual shop-with-a-cop event

Englewood Police Officer Dan McCubbin, left, helps Alcario Baca determine the price of a toy car as the boy’s brother Elijah Longora looks on during the Dec. 19 Shop with a Cop event. Englewood Police worked with Walmart to select eight needy families for the project. Each family was provided funds for a Christmas shopping trip.

Each of the eight families had a police escort during their Dec. 19 Shop-with-a-Cop event at the Englewood Walmart store.

“Each year, our officers recommend families they know are having a hard time for this program,” Toni Arnoldy, police community relations coordinator, said. “Englewood Walmart partners with us to help provide the funds for the families to go shopping and the officers take part in the event on their own time. This year, our shoppers are eight families with a total of 21 children.”

The event begins with a get-together where the officers and families get to know each other while everyone enjoys the food and cake Walmart provides. There is also a surprise visit from Santa Claus.

Then each officer-family team pick up shopping carts and heads out to go shopping.

“This is a great experience for the families and for our Walmart store,” Denise Allison, store manager, said. “This is my third year working with this program. We work closely with the police on the program and our company approved a grant of $2,000 to help with the program. I enjoy the project and I feel it is important for our store to reach out and help families who are like the families who help keep our doors open.”

Allison, a single mom with a little boy, said she mentally puts her feet in the shoes of the families going shopping and does all she can to help the parents and children have a special time that helped Christmas be a bit merrier.

This is the second year Englewood Police Officer Cliff Caskey and his wife Eryn have volunteered their time to be part of the Shop-With-A-Cop program.

“It is a good way to meet people under different circumstances and in a way you wouldn’t normally be able to,” Caskey said. “Being with these families gives me a good feeling to know I am helping them have a good time shopping for gifts that make it a nicer holiday for the parents and the children.”

On the receiving end, the Jackson family was selected to go shopping with one of the officers.

“This shopping trip is a very huge deal for our family,” said father William Jackson. “It is a hard time right now and this shopping trip is a major blessing for us, particularly for the children.”

Jackson’s wife Chantell is blind and he mentioned she is on the list for a kidney transplant. His youngest son Seamus weighed just 1 pound, 12 ounces when he was born. He is blind and has other physical problems, while Jackson’s oldest son William Jr. is on crutches after breaking his leg while selling coupon books door to door.

“We have some challenges but we just roll with them and do the best you can while you hope and pray things will get better,” he said.

The families moved throughout the store as each child had $50 to spend on gifts.

Officer Bobbie Garrett accompanied the Sartin family on their shopping trip and all family members were smiling as they checked out the items that had placed in their cart.

“This is a nice family who just is struggling right now,” Garrett said. “Mom, dad and their three children came from Oklahoma to Colorado recently because dad expected to land a job. That didn’t happen and the family now is living in a motel as the parents look for work.”

Garrett said the smiles on the faces of the parents and their children were special to her.

“Each family member thanks us and hugged us,” she said. “Helping these folks is special for all of us. It makes Christmas special for me and I hope we have made Christmas a little nicer for them.”

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