Some area children are getting more than expected under the Christmas tree this year, thanks to the leadership of the Jonesborough Department of Public Safety and with the help of several other police and fire departments across the region. Now in its tenth year, these groups have joined forces as volunteers to assist more than 100 children in the area each year by making Christmas a lot brighter for themselves and their families.
On December 19 from 6:00-8:00 p.m., the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center becomes a fun-filled arena where children spend the evening with police officers and firefighters from across the region, along with public safety volunteers that assist with the event.
The children are preselected based on income and their needs by the local school system and Shop With A Cop & Firefighter’s organizer, Jonesborough Police Major Jamie Aistrop.
Children and their siblings will also find special gifts at home from Santa Claus on Christmas Day. These items came from donations to the Shop with A Cop & Fire Fighter Angel Tree at CrossPoint Church in Jonesborough, as well as items donated to the Police and Fire Departments. Parents were given these gifts secretly after dropping their child off for the program that evening.
The fun begins with a pizza party followed by a meet and greet, with the area’s public service agencies including Jonesborough Police and Fire, THP, TWRA, Tusculum Police, Embreeville Fire, Elizabethton and Carter County, area Constables and other First Responders.
After dinner, the children get to board tour busses, provided by Clark Family Tours, to the Wal-Mart located on West Market Street to pick out the most coveted items from their Christmas want and wish lists.
The program takes support from the entire community, and civic organizations like the Kiwanis Club of Jonesborough and the Jonesborough Civitans, and is completely donation based.
Upon arrival to the event, the children are partnered up with an officer or firefighter and are acquainted over pizza donated by area businesses including Papa Johns, Rocky’s, Jonesborough Pizza Parlor, Luke’s Pizza, Pizza Plus, The Black Olive and Little Caesars.
While the children check items off their Christmas shopping lists, parents and guardians pick up donated and wrapped gifts including clothing, toys and food that are ready to be placed under the tree on Christmas. After shopping, a group of volunteers are assembled to wrap the children’s new treasures before they are picked up by their parent or guardian.
The shopping lists include items children are in need of such as clothing sizes and favorite toys. Major Aistrop and a group of volunteers spend the days leading up to Shop With A Cop and Firefighter dividing the donations among the list of children and to be picked up that evening.
A fundraiser is held in November at Jonesborough’s Pizza Plus, and numerous donations from people and businesses across the surrounding area take place year-round. With each donation, a tax donation receipt is returned.
Donations are already being accepted for next year’s Shop With A Cop & Firefighter program. Donations can be dropped off at Town Hall or Jonesborough Public Safety Department located at 123 Boone Street.
For more information about Jonesborough’s Shop With A Cop & Firefighter program, contact Major Jamie Aistrop at 423-753-1045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.