Police from Smyrna and Clayton are offering the "Shop with a Cop" event for children again this year, and donations are needed to help fund the program.

Officers from the Smyrna and Clayton police departments are organizing the annual "Shop with a Cop" event Thursday, Dec. 14.

The program provides the opportunity for underprivileged children in our area to have dinner with officers, and then accompany officers to the Middletown Walmart to buy gifts that they may not have normally have received to celebrate the holiday season and to buy gifts for family members.

Officers said "Shop with a Cop" helps break down the barriers between the community and the police with the intent of developing a better and more trusting relationship with our youth.

On the day of the event, officers will give a child an unforgettable shopping experience. The event begins with a meet-and greet-dinner, where the officers and children share a meal while getting to know each other. Then officers will provide transportation in a marked police car to the Middletown Walmart.

At the store, the police officers help the children shop for themselves and their family. Each child will be provided a set amount of funds which he/she can purchase items for themselves and then will be required to also buy a gift for a brother, sister, parent/guardian, or friend to "pay it forward." In addition to a wanted gift, officers will encourage the children to buy an item of neccessity such as a clothing, jackets, hats, and gloves.

Donations needed

The Smyrna and Clayton police departments need the community's assistance to meet the fundraising goal of $2,000.

To donate, call Detective Jessica Weller of the Smyrna Police Department at 302-653-9217 or email Jessica.Weller@cj.state.de.us or call Sgt. Harvey Scott of the Clayton Police Department at 302-653-8186 or email Harvey.W.Scott@cj.state.de.us.