The Shop With A Cop program sponsored by Plymouth F.O.P Lodge 195 in Marshall County is in its 22nd year of providing a bit of holiday cheer to children in Marshall County. The program offers assistance to youth in all the elementary schools in Marshall County. While the program is geared toward elementary age children, if they family has older or younger children they are not exclude from participating in the shop.
Hurshel Hunter said this is an unusual year with two major factories, bay Valley and Del Monte announcing they will be closing up shop and laying-off employees before the holiday season. He’s been in touch with the Human Resources personnel in both plants to let them know the Shop With A Cop program is available to their employees who will be out of work at Christmas time.
The FOP does a variety of fundraising efforts to raise the necessary funds. Right now there are coin collecting jugs in dozens of businesses and many retail establishments have paper window ornaments for a $1 or more donation. Donations can also be mailed directly to Plymouth FOP at P.O. Box 875. The FOP will soon be sending out their letter campaign and members have started to gather items for the Shop With A Cop Radio Auction on WTCA.
The live radio auction will be held on Friday, December 1st from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Hundreds of items will be on the auction block. Hunter said, “We will have everything from a taco to a car on the auction block.” There will be a motorcycle from Kerstings and a car from Oliver Ford along with antiques, gift certificates for food and services, holiday decorations, a septic tank pump, hot air balloon ride, handmade items, a ride on the Christmas Train for the Hoosier Valley Railroad, and a couple of benches made out of the flooring from the old Centennial gymnasium.
Last year 162 children were taken shopping while 20 clients from Marshall Starke Development Center who don’t have families received a couple gifts and 74 elderly people received gift cards for food or medicine, working through REAL Services.
Hunter and F.O.P. 195 are asking citizens and businesses to dig deep because of the unusual circumstances happening with the businesses leaving.
Applications for assistance are now available through the counselors at all elementary schools in Marshall County, at the WTCA Studios and at the Pilot News. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, December 1st.