By Kristin Rover
Twenty-nine children from West Clermont Local School District were all smiles Thursday morning during the annual Shop with a Cop event at Meijer in Eastgate.
The children, who were selected based on their financial needs, were treated to a morning of fun activities including shopping with local police officers.
The morning began with a limo ride to Meijer in Eastgate, breakfast and presents. Then the children were matched up with police officers and fire department officials from Union Township to shop for clothing and other items they need.
Ron Hartman, commander of American Legion Post 72, said the post organizes the event each year. He said it never gets old.
“Seeing the kids and seeing the smiles on their faces, every year is brighter that the previous year,” Hartman said.
Hartman said the legion spends time raising funds for the event, and they receive a generous donation from Meijer each year. He said Union Township police and fire officials donate their time to help with the event.
“I have done it every year but one,” Union Township Police Officer Chad Bullock said about helping with the event. “It’s nice to give back when you can and see them get something out of it.”
Union Township Police Officer Geremy Grooms and his wife, Molly, also helped with the event and said they love participating.
“This is heartwarming,” Geremy Grooms said. “I love it. It’s nice to come out and do a positive interaction with the public.”
Meijer employees also enjoy having the children there for the event.
Todd Hermann, store director, said it is great for the community and great for the children.
“We think it is a well worth cause for us to contribute,” Hermann said. “We look forward to it every year.”
He said he enjoys watching the children’s faces light up when they receive presents and get to shop for clothes.
Once the children are done shopping they have lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse and then they return to the American Legion where they get a surprise visit from Santa, who brings them toys they have asked for for Christmas.
Hartman said legion members shop for the toys the night before the event, and surprise the children with the toys.