MENOMONIE — The Menomonie Chapter DD of the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood (PEO) recently presented a donation to the Menomonie Police Department for the Shop with a Cop Program. The amount donated from PEO was $578.00.
“Chapter DD” just designates which PEO chapter donated as there are three PEO chapters in Menomonie — they separate them by initials.
Shop with a Cop, or Cops 4 Kids, as it’s called in Menomine, is the partnership between the Menomonie Police Department, Dunn County Sheriff’s Office, UW-Stout Police Department, Boyceville Police Department, Colfax Police Department and community stakeholders.
The mission of Cops 4 Kids is to better enrich the lives of children and families in need in Dunn County through positive interactions with Law Enforcement and targeted programs that allow them to obtain items that they need, such as the Shop with a Cop programs in August and December.
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Kelly Pollock, Lieutenant at Menomine Police Department, has been involved with the program since it began locally about six years ago.
Officers such as Lt. Pollock take kids shopping — kids who have had excessive law enforcement experiences or human service experiences which may have led them to associate police with negative impacts on their lives.
“Perhaps they were taken into the foster care system or their parents were arrested or they’ve seen domestic violence or they themselves have been victims of some kind of violence, or assault or neglect,” Pollock said. “And we take them shopping for Christmas gifts. They can get anything they want. They can get toys. They can get things they need such as clothing.”
But a lot of the kids pick out gifts for siblings, or parents or for somebody special to them, she said.
“It’s very sweet because they don’t have a lot themselves. And they want to spend their money that they’re supposed to get, on someone else,” she said.
The goal is to give them a good and positive experience with law enforcement and human services.
“So they know someday that, if they are in need, or they’re in trouble, or if they just want to say ‘hi’ that they can reach out to us and they don’t have to be afraid of us,” she said.
Chapter DD Sisterhood has traditionally supported good causes in the Menomonie community as a Christmas project.
Cyrilla Face, PEO Chapter PCE Program Chairperson said the DD Sisterhood feels gratified to acknowledge the laudable work of the Cops 4 Kids program.
“Helping children and families in need to have a happy Christmas and promoting positive engagements with law enforcement are vital causes that the Sisterhood applauds and encourages,” Face said. “Our primary goal is to raise money to fund scholarships and grants for women. However, around Christmas we pick an outside charity to fund.”
Funds, such as those donated by the Menomonie Chapter DD of the PEO, get deposited into an account that is handled by the Community Foundation in Menomine which is a nonprofit, Pollock said.
“Our crime prevention specialist Brenna Jasper is in charge of that and she makes sure that the funds get deposited into the right place and are kept until we use them to make purchases for kids,” Pollock said. “Usually what we do is we purchase gift cards. And then the gift cards are used to buy for the needs of the children when we shop with them.
“If we have, like, a little one such as a one or two year old who can’t shop, we’ll just get them gifts — if they need diapers, we get diapers, or clothes or whatever the parents or the guardians deem that they might need or want.”
But the charitable spirit takes over, Pollock said. Quite often officers will use personal funds to make sure these children have a good Christmas.
“The best part is giving these kids a chance to have things that maybe they wouldn’t have normally at Christmas. We give them $100 gift cards to buy things but I know a lot of officers reached into their own pockets. Because a lot of us can’t stand to see these kids not having the things that they need, and spending all their money on things they need and then not being able to have a little bit of fun for Christmas,” she said.
“It’s nice to be able to give them an experience where they get to see us as people and not just as somebody who they should be scared of.”
If you’d like more information or to make a donation please contact Brenna Jasper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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