Cops give children here holiday to remember
By By JOANNA ARNETT / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Thirty-four children stampeded the Niles Wal-Mart early Sunday morning, eager to do some Christmas shopping they wouldn't normally be able to do.
The annual Shop-With-A-Cop, held every December for the past four years, is sponsored by the Ralph Rumbaugh American Legion Post 51 in Buchanan and the Niles Wal-Mart. It is a program organized by Stacey Lee of Post 51 to give underprivelaged children in the surrounding area a chance to have breakfast and go Christmas shopping with funds raised by Post 51 and Wal-Mart.
The money went toward a total of 45 children in 14 families. Each child had $100 to spend. The 11 preschool children, who obviously can't do the shopping themselves, were assigned "helpers" to pick out gifts for them totaling $50, to later be delivered to the parents.
Through a $1,000 grant from Wal-Mart, the Buchanan Police Department donated $500 to the program.
So how does Lee decide who gets to take part in this event?
Children available for this are anywhere from 6 months to 17 years. The children selected this year were all from Buchanan Community Schools.
Casey, 5, Kristina, 10, and Chelai, 12, were shopping with Robert Adams of the Buchanan Fire Department. Gazing at the Barbie Swan Lake editions, they contemplated on what would be the best buy.
Kayla Chaney, 10, was in the shoe department with Bruce Kimbrell of the Fire Department.
Gaynelle Tate and her husband, Bud, were shopping for two preschoolers, Terra and Angelina Allerton, in the little girl's department.
Shane, 8, and Channing Miner, 11, tried explaining to Officer Rick Edgerle in the electronics section that their mother would like a Nelly CD. As the artist Nelly is a rapper, Officer Edgerle wasn't quite buying their story.
Stacey Lee, pleased with Sunday's outcome, explained what she enjoyed best about being able to organize an event that touches children with the Christmas spirit.