(Dec. 20, 2019) State troopers, local law enforcement and area elementary school children brought the spirit of Christmas to life during the seventh annual “Shop with a Cop,” at the Berlin Walmart, Saturday, Dec. 14.
As in past years, troopers from the Berlin Barrack, along with family members and volunteers, provided a memorable shopping and bonding experience for children in Worcester County.
The tradition began in 2013 after Senior Tpr. Marlin Meyers read about similar programs elsewhere in Maryland and presented the charitable campaign to his cohorts. Maryland State Tpr. First Class James Corran carried on the tradition this year.
“I like to be able to help the children. I think that’s what we’re all in it for. We’re here to help the kids in a time of need or even the families,” Corran, who coordinated the event this year, said. “The kids come here, they will shop for other family members and for themselves as well.”
In addition to the shopping trip, each child’s family will also receive a bag full of nonperishables, socks and gloves, as well as a ham to enjoy for Christmas, Corran said.
Officers, deputies and troopers from Snow Hill, Berlin, Somerset County, Ocean City, the Natural Resources Department and the Sheriff’s Office participated this year. A friendly four-legged K9 officer also helped the children shop.
Thirty-two elementary school-aged children from Worcester County were selected by the Board of Education, a co-sponsored the event, to have the opportunity to shop. This was the largest group of children participating in the event’s history, according to Wendy Myers, president of the CRICKET Center in Berlin.
“It’s important for the at-risk community to have that really positive interaction with law enforcement early in their lives,” Myers said. “It’s a great experience for them. They have a lot of fun and they have those great memories of how nice some of our law enforcement is in Worcester. They have a great time.”
Prior to arriving at Walmart aboard the Maryland State Police Bus, the grade school holiday shoppers convened at the barrack for a facility tour and police vehicle show-and-tell. They also received honorary Junior Maryland Trooper Badges.
Each child was partnered with an officer and given $100 to spend.
Worcester County Sheriff Matthew Crisafulli also participated in the event.
“The Worcester County’s Sheriff’s Office, Somerset County’s Sheriff’s Office, Princess Anne Police Department and the Snow Hill Police Department … all of these local law enforcement agencies are working here with the Department of Social Services to assist our children who are less fortunate and may not have something on Christmas,” Crisafulli said. “What we’re noticing is a lot of them are buying Christmas gifts for other people. It really exemplifies the spirit of Christmas.”
After the event, the children were taken to the Berlin Fire Department, where they were served meals courtesy of Chick-Fil-A, and played in bouncy houses provided by Sonrise Church of Berlin.
“This is going to be a large impact on the lives of these children and that’s what it’s about … we want to make sure that we can identify children who might not have a Christmas because of some type of financial situation or other extenuating circumstances,” Crisafulli said. “That’s what Christmas is about for kids. These are life-lasting memories for our children. It’s about making a child smile.”