Through the generous donations of businesses and individuals, Christmas was a little merrier for over 200 children in the county on Saturday morning.

The sun was barely up as children and their families arrived at the London Walmart early Saturday to participate in the annual Shop with a Cop, an event begun locally by the Cumberland Valley Fraternal Order of Police. The event brings the community together with police officers assisting with the children with their gift choices. The children chosen for this event could choose a toy and a new set of clothing as part of their gifts. Of the $125 per child, $100 is allotted for clothing and $25 for toys.

The Laurel County Sheriff's Office, London City Police, and Cumberland Valley Fraternal Order of Police team together for the event with businesses, churches, groups and individuals making donations to assist in the program. It also allows police to interact with children in a positive setting.

This is the 25th year of Shop with a Cop. The early founding fathers included Don and Virginia Wattenbarger and Laurel County Sheriff's Lieut. Chris Edwards. Don Wattenbarger, a retired sheriff's deputy, was dedicated to providing gifts to children in need and continued to support the program until his death two years ago.

Those present for the event were Laurel Sheriff’s Lieut. Chris Edwards (current president of the Laurel County “Shop with a Cop” board, Jamie Harrison - Secretary /Treasurer of Laurel’s Shop with a Cop, and a staff member of Community Trust Bank, LPD Officer Kenny Jones (Vice President of Laurel’s Shop with a Cop), all Laurel County Schools Family Resource Centers, East Bernstadt School Family Resource Center, Cumberland Valley Bank, Community Trust Bank, London Rotary Club, Connect Missional Church, London City Police, Laurel County Volunteer Fire Department, and numerous other volunteers.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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