Tuscarawas County, Ohio - The area’s police forces are working together to make the holiday season a little brighter for children and families in Tuscarawas County.
For the ninth consecutive year, members of the Tuscora Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police will be providing a unique holiday experience through their Christmas with a Cop program, and they’re are asking the community to help support the endeavor.
The campaign’s spokesman, New Philadelphia Police Officer Chad Dorsey, says the group will be buying presents for 35 to 50 elementary school students based on referrals from schools throughout Tuscarawas County.
“What we do is we collect donations from our businesses throughout Tuscarawas County and private individuals, and we basically select students with the help of our schools and we go shopping to help these families that are in a little bit of extra financial need during the holidays out,” he says.
Dorsey says the lodge usually spends about $150 to $200 on each student and also purchases gifts for each child’s school-age siblings.
“We try to select a lot of things that the kids are in need of - winter coats, hats, boots, things like that - but then we also have a list of items that they’ve asked for for Christmas and we try to get them a couple things off of that, too,” he says.
Dorsey says those gifts will be handed out on December 15th during a banquet at the New Philadelphia Elks.
“We have some food, refreshments, drinks, desserts and they bring the whole family in and Santa makes an appearance and distributes all the gifts to all the kids,” he says.
Dorsey says the program is a great opportunity for kids to see police officers in a different light.
“We’re all usually in uniform there, all of our law enforcement officers. We bring our families in as well. It’s a great time for them to be there and be able to help out and give back to the community with our police family. It’s a lot of fun for us,” he says.
For the program to be successful, Dorsey says the lodge needs to come up with about $7,000 before December 8th. He says that might sound like a hefty goal, but he’s confident it can be reached.
“Our community comes through every year for us, year in and year out. We find a way to make this great program happen, and we couldn’t do it without the donations that we get from our community,” he says.
The lodge asks those wishing to contribute to send a check payable to the Fraternal Order of Police Tuscora Lodge #4 with Christmas with a Cop in the subject line and mailed to PO Box 2, Dover, OH 44622.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV