“Shop with a Cop” helps scores of children and their parents have a more cheerful Christmas while helping unburden Santa Claus, according to Bremen Police Chief Keith Pesnell.
Shop with a Cop (SWAC) is sponsored by the Haralson County Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and operates on donations from the community.
“People have been very gracious contributors for these 19 years,” said Pesnell.
According to Pesnell, SWAC begins with a resident visiting the Bremen Police Department between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and filling out an application before the deadline next Monday, Dec. 3. The applications will be reviewed to determine eligibility. Families may qualify for one or more children (through age 12) to receive a $100 shopping spree at Bremen Walmart.
Families selected will be notified to bring their child or children (ages 6 to 12) to Walmart on Dec. 20, where public safety volunteers will accompany the youngsters through the store on their Christmas shopping adventure. Children under the age of 6 will have their shopping done for them by volunteers. Half of the selected children will shop while the other half eats breakfast at McDonalds; then they switch.
“Some kids say all they want is a bible; others say all they want is a coat. That tugs at your heart strings,” said Pesnell. “Still others want to check out everything in the store before they spend their $100. We have about 100 kids on average.”
City, county and state public safety personnel that serve Haralson County volunteer to be shopping escorts for the children.
“We couldn’t do it without our public safety workers from all over the county,” he said. “Usually 60 to 70 people help.
“Cash gifts received from many generous donors pay for the shopping,” said Pesnell. “If there are any funds left over, they are used throughout the year to help with family emergencies. The Lord has blessed us with a great community,” said Pesnell, who has participated in SWAC for more than half of his 27 years with the Bremen Police force.
“This year, volunteers are looking at feeding parents on Dec. 20, sponsored by numerous area churches. This will give them a night to feel special about themselves. No matter how hard life gets, we’re able to help kids, and parents appreciate it.”
The Bremen Police Department is located at 121 Atlantic Avenue. Contact the BPD at 770-537-4441.