Every year, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office partners with Charlotte County Public Schools, all of the Walmart stores in the county, and other local law enforcement agencies for our annual Shop With A Cop event.
This began here in 2004 and the program has grown in numbers and popularity. This year, more than 130 kids were selected to participate, each receiving a $100 gift card to go Christmas shopping for themselves and their families. The students are selected by guidance counselors at all 10 elementary schools in Charlotte County, plus the Charlotte Harbor School. Once selected, they are given a specific date to come to an assigned Walmart store, signed in by their guardian, and then paired with a deputy (or other law enforcement officer) who escorts the student throughout the store as they shop.
Once the student feels they have found everything they need, they check out at a designated register and head over to one of the gift-wrapping stations. The wrappers consist of volunteers from CCSO, other agencies, and community partners. This helps to ensure that the gifts the students purchase for their loved ones remain a secret until opened on Christmas Day. Following the gift-wrapping, the students get to visit with both Santa and Mrs. Claus, who wish them a Merry Christmas before the parents are contacted to come and pick up their child.
“The Shop With A Cop program is a favorite, not only of the community, but of my deputies and myself. We love meeting the students and their parents every year, and we appreciate the opportunity to engage with them on this level. It’s a very special event, and one that only happens through the generosity of community partners, civic organizations, and everyday people who just want to make the holidays brighter for those in need.”– Sheriff Bill Prummell
Shop With A Cop happens four times in Charlotte County each year. The first two are already complete, and the final two are scheduled 3:30 – 5:00pm on Tuesday, December 14 at Punta Gorda Walmart and Wednesday, December 15 at Englewood Walmart.
Donations can be made in person during the events or mailed to the Community Affairs Unit at the address below (checks made payable to CCSO and marked “Shop With A Cop” on the memo line). For more information, contact Community Affairs at (941) 575-5227.
CCSO – Community Affairs Unit
7474 Utilities Rd.
Punta Gorda, FL 33982