Photos + Video: Ahead of winter weather, Shop with a Cop takes Walmart by storm
Fourteen kids participated in the annual shopping spree with local law enforcement.
WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s Walmart Supercenter was bustling with people preparing for the holidays and winter weather Tuesday night, but that didn't slow down the kids participating in the Nobles County Sherriff’s Office Shop with a Cop event, who took to the aisles eagerly.
Now in its sixth year, the annual event includes a $250 — $150 for toys and $100 for clothing — shopping spree for a group of preselected kids, with a member of local law enforcement. This year, 14 kids ranging from two years old to 13 participated. Within minutes of being paired with their designated cop for the evening, shoppers descended upon the toy selection.
Nine-year-old Payton Chaplin, of Adrian, made a beeline for the Barbies and came out with a Barbie Camper playset and a slowly growing smile.
“I really like camping,” she said, and picked out two new dolls to go with the camper before asking her cop companion if she could get some gum. Watermelon is her favorite.
Later, while checking out, Payton’s mom watched from the sidelines as Payton helped hoist the toy camper onto the table.
“She’s wanted one of those forever,” Daisha Chaplin said, with a smile to rival her daughter’s.
When Chaplin was approached about participating in this year’s Shop with a Cop, she was surprised. She’d never heard of the event before, and couldn’t believe it when she first got the call.
“Where I’m from, we don’t have anything like this,” said Chaplin, an Iowa native. “It’s awesome that the community does this sort of thing for the kids.”
For Deputy Kristi Liepold, who helps organize the event, she’s not sure who has more fun — the kids or the officers. It’s something the department looks forward to. This year, Shop with a Cop had to be rescheduled due to weather, but Liepold is glad they managed to make everything work out.
“I want to give a big thanks to Walmart for putting this together,” she said, adding that the program had received $3,000 from Walmart to go toward funding. Throughout the year, Shop with a Cop receives additional private donations. Anyone interested in donating can stop into the Prairie Justice Center, or contact Liepold or Sheriff Ryan Kruger.
Every year, the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office receives names from local schools and Nobles County Family Services as suggestions for Shop with a Cop.
“We get names of people who have had a hard year,” Liepold explained. “The kids get to come in and have a good time, and so do we. I’m not sure who looks forward to it more, us or them.”