Police officials expect individual donations to increase now than Thanksgiving is over based on past history, but the corporate donations they have usually received by this point have dropped this year. If the event were to be this week, they’d only have funding for about 60 kids.
“It’s all going to depend on donations,” VRPD Training Officer Terry Bagwell said. “We’ll do as many kids this year as we have donations for, obviously, but donations are just not rolling in during these hard times.”
Though donations are down, Bagwell said the stories he’s been reading from the applications to participate in this year’s program are still tough to read. The program provides $100 each for low-income children to go shopping with a police officer for Christmas.
“There’s just a lot of tough circumstances out there in this economy,” Bagwell said. “There’s dads out of work, there’s single moms and dads, there’s grandmothers raising their grandkids because the parents are out of the picture for one reason or another, there’s some where there’s been a death in the family of the main breadwinner. The economy is just crunching people right now. We’re in hard times and that’s what the program is really for.”
The last few year’s the VRPD has partnered with the Temple Police Department with Shop with a Cop and like Villa Rica, Temple is hurting for donations as well. It’s annual haunted house fund-raiser that provides funds for the program raised roughly $3,000, which would provide shopping funds for about 30 kids.
“Our plans right now are to take no more than 40 kids,” Police Chief Tim Shaw said. “We wanted to do 100 this year, but we didn’t raise enough money to provide for that so our goal this year is going to be around 40 kids. I think a lot of it is just really bad economic times.”
While Villa Rica took about 120 kids shopping last year, Temple took 82. Neither department has the funding to even come close to those numbers this year.
Donations are accepted all year long. Donations can be made at each of the respective police departments. Temple also accepts donations at City Hall.
“Any donations are greatly appreciated,” Shaw said.