Fairfield Twp. to help more families have a Christmas this season

Nine Fairfield Twp. children will be out with police officers on Saturday at Bridgewater Falls to give their families a Christmas experience.

And a week later, nine more children will do the same with a second “Shop with a Cop” at Walmart.

The police department is helping these families have a better Christmas, said Mike Oler, who organizes the police department’s annual “Shop with a Cop” program.

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The kids shop for their families, but they also shop for themselves, Oler said, “but this about Christmas. It’s not only receiving, it’s giving,” he said.

Three police officers with the assistance of the township’s Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association will take the nine children, who attend either Fairfield North or Fairfield East elementary schools, to several retailers at Bridgewater Falls.

But first, each officer will pick up three of the kids to have lunch at MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill and Pub before they go out shopping, and Oler said Santa Claus usually makes an appearance before they embark on their shopping excursion. Some stores will provide shopping gift cards within the plaza, and Bridgewater Falls is also contributing to the program, Oler said.

Bridgewater Falls spokeswoman Danielle Reynolds said the shopping plaza “is committed to supporting our community through programs like ‘Shop with a Cop.’”

“This year, the kids will be able to shop for their families at 10 different stores, thanks to the generous donations from our retailers,” she said.

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After a day’s worth of shopping, the officers and children return to the police station to wrap the gifts with the assistance of the Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association. Santa may make a second appearance at the station.

Parents or guardians will pick up their children from the police station.

“Shop with a Cop” doesn’t end on Saturday as the township will add a second event later this month in a partnership with Walmart, which is across Bypass Ohio 4 from Bridgewater Falls.

“This is a chance to reach out to more people to help out,” Oler said.

Nine more Fairfield Twp. elementary school students will be taken to Walmart on Dec. 22, and similar to this weekend, they’ll have lunch and shop for presents for their family and themselves. Walmart, though, will provide gift-wrapping for the children.

“Earlier this year, Walmart approached us because we did the ‘Fill-a-cruiser’ over Thanksgiving, and they wanted to do ‘Shop with a Cop’ over there this year,” said Detective Sgt. Jamie Mays.

The township police department decided to take on the second “Shop with a Cop” and was awarded a $2,000 grant from Walmart. Four police officers and the wife of one of the officers will be assisting the nine different children shop, Mays said.

“Between the two locations, there’s going to be 18 different families this is going to affect,” Mays said.

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