The 2020 Grayson County Shop with a Cop program may have operated differently this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that did not stop local law enforcement from raising more funds this year than ever before.
According to Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins, who has organized the event since 2015, local police raised $31,000 this year and, as a result, were able to shop for 110 children in need, spending about $175 on each child.
“It just goes to show how citizens of Grayson County step up to help people,” Chaffins said, adding that the program reminds him of why he loves working in Grayson County.
In years past, children benefitted by the program were able to shop with law enforcement officers, but, for the safety of all involved, organizers decided to instead have police shop from a list and then hand the items to children in a drive-thru format outside of Walmart.
Chaffins said children benefitting from the program were “very appreciative and courteous” when accepting their gifts.
Chaffins started the Grayson County program in 2015 taking inspiration from his many years of participating in the Kentucky State Police’s Shop with a Trooper. In total, he has taken part in Shop with a Cop and Shop with a Trooper programs for the past 26 years.
Not only was law enforcement able to spend more on each child through this year’s Shop with a Cop (in previous years, police spent around $150 on each child), Chaffins said police also had enough money left over to assist families in need throughout the year.
“It’s been a great year for Shop with a Cop, and we have our Grayson County businesses and citizens to thank for it,” he said.
Joining Chaffins and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office this past Saturday and Sunday to shop were the Leitchfield Police Department and the Grayson County Detention Center, as well as officers’ family members.
Leitchfield Police Chief David Riley said he and his department want to thank Chaffins for the hard work he puts into the Shop with a Cop program throughout the year.
Riley also wished to thank the community for donating their time and money to help local kids have a good Christmas, as well as Walmart and the volunteers who helped shop.
“(Shop with a Cop) serves as a sort of therapy for me,” Riley said. “It helps me get into the Christmas spirit.”
Chaffins said a goal of the program is to offer children a chance to see police officers in a different, more positive light.
“A lot of the kids that see us see us at their house or on TV,” he said.
In closing, Chaffins wished to thank donors who helped make this year’s program a success: T & T Construction (owned by Tina Higdon), which was the title sponsor for the Falls 100 race with $5,000 donated; Central Kentucky Race Management, which donated an additional $4,000 to the program from race proceeds; the “Raft Up” event held on Nolin Lake, which raised over $5,000; Walmart, which donated $3,500; the Western Kentucky Club, which donated $1,000; Radiant Church, which donated $2,255; The Storehouse Coffee & Gifts, which donated $1,000; Caneyville Baptist Church, which donated $1,000; Muddy Creek Archery, which donated $1,000; those who purchased tickets for the raffle, which raised $2,500; and the many donors who gave $500 to the program.
“Numerous citizens donated from $1 up to a thousand dollars,” said Chaffins. “We also collected $1,000 in donations while shopping for the kids this past Saturday. I may have left someone out, and I apologize if I have.”