Christmas with a Cop benefits 166 children in Kosciusko County

Raphael Nunez shows off a toy while shopping with Warsaw Police Officer Paige Wood Thursday night at Meijer's.

WARSAW — It might be hard to top the level of giving — in both directions — seen ahead of this year’s Christmas with a Cop program in Warsaw.

The annual program run by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #149 saw tremendous support from the community this year and got an unexpected donation Thursday night as the program got underway at Meijer’s in Warsaw.

Ryan Moore, president of the local FOP, said a customer who was there to pick up medicine saw the large mix of police and children inside the entrance, asked what was happening, and then donated $800 cash on the spot after realizing it was Christmas with a Cop.

“He took out his wallet, took $20 out so he could pay for his medication, and gave us the rest of his money,” Moore said. “It was great.”

Formerly known as “Shop with a Cop,” the program provides a Christmas shopping experience for low-income children, many of whom are identified ahead of time by school officials. 

Officers from across the county participated in the program. The FOP covers the cost of the gifts through fundraisers and donations from the public.

This year, police were able to provide gifts to 166 children.

On top of that, for the first time in at least ten years, the FOP decided to increase the amount of money set aside for each child.

“The community stepped up and donated a lot of money to us this year,” Moore said, adding that it opened the door for police to help more kids.

Officers, some hand-in-hand, canvased the store looking for items while also having a little small talk.

“These kids get to see us in a different element than they normally do and get to experience a time where we can bring a little enjoyment and excitement in their lives,” Moore said.

Various police officers greeted families who were signing in ahead of Thursday’s Christmas with a Cop at Meijer’s in Warsaw. Among them were Warsaw Police Det./Sgt. Ryan Moore (center with a beard) and Andy Cochran, with Indiana State Police, to the right. Moore is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #149. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
Kosciusko County Sheriff-elect Jim Smith helps Andrew Pearson find some clothes Thursday night during Christmas with a Cop at Meijer’s in Warsaw. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
Police from agencies throughout Kosciusko County participated in Thursday’s program. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
Warsaw Police Corporal Justin Curtis accompanies a youngster Thursday night during the Christmas with a Cop event at Meijer’s in Warsaw. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.