(Posted Nov. 7, 2018)
By Sandi Latimer and Kristy Zurbrick, Staff Writers
Mayor Ray Martin rubbed his chin when it came time for him to give his report at the West Jefferson village council meeting on Nov. 5. He apologized for “looking scruffy.”
He blamed it on Police Chief Rick Hardy, who himself had a five o’clock shadow.
“If you see village officials and leaders of organizations looking scruffy, blame it on him,” Martin said, pointing to Hardy. “This is No Shave November, and I donated to the Shop with a Cop fund.”
Shop with a Cop is a project through which West Jefferson police officers and Madison County Sheriff’s deputies take children shopping for holiday gifts for themselves and their families. West Jefferson resident Paula Martin started the project last year as a way to build relationships between officers and children and to brighten the holidays for children who are facing adversity, financially or emotionally.
No Shave November is one funding source for this year’s Shop with a Cop. Male participants are making donations in exchange for being able to grow beards, a look not usually permitted for officers. Paula said accommodations are being made for female officers to participate, too. One possibility is polished nails.
Other fundraisers include a raffle and t-shirt sales. The raffle prize is a $1,000 gift certificate for furniture from Liberty Freight on the west side of Columbus. Tickets are six for $20 and can be purchased at Main Street Deli, 203 W. Main St., West Jefferson. Tickets also will be sold at West Jefferson’s Christmas in the Park, set for Dec. 14-16. The drawing will be held at the park on Dec. 16. The t-shirts are $20 ($25 for sizes 2X and up) and can be purchased at Holy Shnikies Printing & Design, 265 E. Main St., West Jefferson.
Most of the funding for Shop with a Cop 2018 is coming from donations from Coughlin Automotive, the Target warehouse in West Jefferson, and area Target stores.
Thanks to the donations and fundraisers, participating children will go home with not only gifts for themselves and their families, but also food for a complete Christmas dinner, including ham and fresh baked goods. Additionally, they will be treated to a pizza lunch at the West Jefferson Community Center after the shopping trip. During lunch, volunteers from the Target warehouse and the community will wrap the gifts. The children also will get one-on-one time with Santa.
The shopping day is scheduled for Dec. 15 at the Target store located on Hilliard-Rome Road in Columbus. Ten children, referred to Shop with a Cop by guidance counselors in the West Jefferson school district, will take part. They range in age from kindergarten through 12th grade.
“Each officer will be assigned a child and will spend the next one-and-a-half hours making sure the child has a once in a lifetime experience,” Paula said.
“We are really looking forward to this year’s Shop with a Cop,” said Chief Hardy. “This program is another great way for our officers to positively interact with the community… We are truly grateful for everyone who has donated time and money to this wonderful program.”