On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Johnson City Police Department’s Support Wives and Girlfriends (SWAG) group hosted the second annual Shop With a Cop event at Memorial Park Community Center.
Officers of the Johnson City Police Department – along with members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Elizabethton Police Department, Nuclear Fuel Services/Murray Guard Inc., and East Tennessee State University Public Safety – took 51 deserving children from the Johnson City school system on a shopping spree for Christmas.
The children were paired with an officer, and the two discussed their Christmas list during a pizza party. The children were then loaded into party buses and limousines and the entourage was escorted by officers to Walmart on Browns Mill Road. After the shopping spree, participants’ families were provided with a Christmas food box and ham as well as additional gifts for Christmas morning.
“Spending time with these kids and being a small part of helping them to enjoy Christmas is the best feeling in the world,” said Johnson City Police Officer Brittney Eberhardt. “We are just so grateful to all of our community partners who made it possible.”
Johnson City’s Shop With a Cop has nearly doubled in just one year thanks to a $7,500 donation from Graphic Disorder; fundraising efforts by Smith Brothers Harley Davidson; toys donated from Toys R Us; sponsorship of approximately 25 children by Keller Williams Realty and Classic Title; monetary donations from citizens; Johnson City Parks and Recreation; Marco’s Pizza, Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s Pizza; Chick-Fil-A, West Market Street; and Walmart.
“We would love to see the event continue growing at this rate so that we can reach even more children,” Eberhardt said. “I feel like our officers get more out of this event than the children do. It’s amazing to see how many of them are so selfless and want to spend their money buying for others. They embody the spirit of Christmas, and we are privileged to be able to be part of it.”