Local organizations team up to help youth for Christmas
Published 10:21 am Monday, December 14, 2015
Normally, the sight of so many police cars and fire engines outside a single establishment is a worrying one.
On Saturday morning, the combined force of police and firefighters that showed up inside Dowagiac’s Shopko market was cause for celebration for nearly a dozen local children and their families.
The local public safety agencies, along with three criminal justice students from Southwestern Michigan College, teamed up once again with the local shopping center and VFW Post 1855 for the annual Shop with a Hero event. The officers and firefighters helped 10 children finish off their gift lists for Christmas that morning, using $200 that was donated each child by Shopko and the VFW post.
After helping the children purchase their gifts, the officers helped them wrap them. Then the entire group headed to the VFW post, where pizza and games awaited.
The local VFW has sponsored the event for more than a dozen years, teaming up with public safety officials fairly early on in its history. This year, the post received several donations from local businesses and organizations to help them raise the $1,000 needed to match Shopko’s donation to make the shopathon happen, said Post Commander Bill Bobik.
“Everybody stepped up to the plate to this year,” Bobik said.
If the post receives similar contributions next year, organizers could provide shopping trips for even more children, Bobik said.