(Dec. 21, 2018) State troopers, local law enforcement and area elementary school children brought the spirit of Christmas to life during the sixth annual “Shop with a Cop,” at the Berlin Walmart last Saturday.
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 Myers read about similar programs elsewhere in Maryland and promoted the charitable campaign to his cohorts. Lt. Earl Starner carried on the tradition this year.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to bond with the community and support our young people,” Starner said. “Everybody loves our kids. Obviously, it’s a good way to remind people we’re the good guys … and this year is the first year that we’ve included our law enforcement partners in Worcester County. In the past, it’s been all troopers from other areas of the state, this year we partnered up with our law enforcement here in Worcester County.”
Officers, deputies and troopers from Pocomoke, Berlin, Ocean City, the Natural Resources Department and the Sheriff’s Office participated this year. Two friendly four-legged K9 officers also helped the children shop this season.
Twenty-eight 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.
“We really appreciate all the folks who donate. We’ve had people stopping us today who are shopping,” Wendy Meyers, president of the CRICKET Center, said. “It’s just nice to see a community come together to make sure kids don’t feel like they’re left behind. This time of year, often some kids don’t receive and aren’t able to give to others like some other families might be able to. It’s really important to allow them to have this experience so we thank our generous community.”
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.
“This is all about our kids and it’s our goal to make sure they have a wonderful Christmas experience,” Crisafulli said. “It’s about teamwork and working together to provide for Worcester County. We’re just proud to be a part of the collaboration with all the allied agencies and moving forward we continue to have strong bonds with the community to provide the best services to all of our citizens.”
This event has continued over the years with the support of Walmart and the National Walmart Foundation, Harbor Marine in West Ocean City, Denovo’s Trattoria Restaurant in Ocean Pines, Chic-fil-A in West Ocean City, Atlantic Physical Therapy in Ocean Pines, the Makemie Memorial Presbyterian Women, private citizen donations, the Worcester County Board of Education, the Worcester County Health Department, the Worcester County CRICKET Center, and the men and woman, both sworn and civilian, of the Maryland State Police and local law enforcement.