COVID 19 has presented some real problems for many, and the Shop with a Cop & Firefighter program is no different, but despite the problems of the pandemic, our local heroes are still going to make Christmas happen for some good little boys and girls. However, there are going to be some changes.
Over the decades, this event has truly grown with local officials, civic groups, churches, and more getting involved. There are usually hundreds of volunteers and spectators at the event, but this year officials need to keep crowding to a minimum in an effort to avoid spreading COVID 19.
TAPD & TAFD will be doing their program in shifts throughout the day, keeping crowding to a minimum to comply with safety guidelines for the pandemic. The Arkansas side does their shopping at the Walmart store.
TTPD & TTFD will be going further and not having the large gathering that has grown over the decades.
Texarkana Texas Police Public Information Officer Shawn Vaughn tells us,
Due to the ever increasing concern about COVID, we have made the decision to cancel the in-person shopping event on December 1.
However, we will still provide the children with a SWACAF experience as we’ve done for over two decades. Instead of children’s shopping with an officer or firefighter together, we will actually shop for the children alone. DHS case workers will ask each of the 100 kids to provide us with a wish list for gifts they would like for Christmas. We will purchase the gifts from the child’s list and will then have a drive thru pick up event at the DHS offices on Summerhill Road on December 12 (9a-12p).COVID has made us completely reimagine this year’s event several times. We recognize that we are not only providing a Christmas for some very special children who might not otherwise have one, but we have a responsibility to do it as safely as possible. It’s been a real challenge this year, but I’m very proud of our board’s determination and efforts to make sure it happens.