A boost in funding to a local non-profit organization that pairs law enforcement officers and children to go on a holiday shopping spree led to an additional 40 children being able to receive gifts just in time for Christmas.

Representatives with Shop with a Cop Inc. said a recent spike in donated funds helped them take an additional 40 children from the Robstown, Calallen and West Oso areas shopping Dec. 23 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Calallen. The Shop with a Cop program helps needy children during the holiday season to buy needed items for themselves, such as clothes and shoes.

"It was really great," Tara Mylett, co-chair for Shop with a Cop Inc., said Friday. "We were calling the families until 10 o'clock at night to let them know."

Twenty-five children from the Calallen, Tuloso-Midway and Robstown independent school districts took part in a Shop with a Cop event Dec. 12 at the same Wal-Mart store. The Corpus Christi Regional Lodge Fraternal Order of Police works with local school districts and Head Start programs to select kids for the program.

Mylett said children who participate are encouraged to buy basic items, such as school and play clothes, under clothes, shoes and coats. Afterward, if there is money left over, the child may be allowed to buy items like toys and electronics.

Officers from various laws enforcement branches, such as the Corpus Christi Police Department, Nueces County constables and Sheriff's Department deputies, and the Port of Corpus Christi, donate their time to help the kids hunt down good deals. Officers usually have lunch with the children after the shopping is over, Mylett said.

Organizers had hoped to be able to take 300 kids shopping this year, but realized in November that the figure would not be attainable with a struggling national economy forcing donors to cut back on giving to the program.

The additional funding put the total number of children helped this year at 170, Mylett said, but that number is still low for a program that has helped more than 2,000 children in its 11 years in operation.

Despite that, Mylett said she was grateful there were enough donations to help kids, no matter how many, this holiday season.

"We really wnat to thank (the community)," Mylett said. "The community really came through for the kids this holiday season."

For more information on the Shop with a Cop event or to make a donation, please direct all e-mails toshopwithacop@fop.net or contact Tara Mylett at 442-4787. Donations in any amounts can also be mailed to "Shop with a Cop" at P.O. Box 440, Corpus Christi, Texas 78403.

Donations are taken year-round for the Shop with a Cop event.


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