The Fraternal Order of Police in Seymour is facing a major shortfall in its annual Cops and Kids program, which provides gifts to area children of low-income families at Christmas time.
Members are hoping increased donations from local businesses, industries and the public will help make up the $5,000 in grant money received from a major corporate supporter for several years.
Due to changes in qualifications for the grant, the FOP can no longer receive the money from that particular grant, said Detective Sgt. C.J. Foster with the Seymour Police Department. Foster serves as president of Donald Winn FOP Lodge 108.
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Foster declined to name the source of the grant, because the business continues to support local law enforcement, the FOP and the community in other ways, he said.
“Basically the change was that since we offer scholarships and sponsor youth league teams too, we were no longer eligible for this grant,” Foster said. “It wasn’t a decision that was made locally, so we just have to find another way to raise the money.”
Cops and Kids, formerly known as Shop with a Cop, is a program that allows children ages 5 to 16 to spend a morning in December Christmas shopping with a local police officer. Each child receives about $100 and are allowed to pick out what toys and clothes they want.
“This program pairs police officers with underprivileged children in the community so they can go shopping for Christmas presents,” Foster said.
Last year, 60 children participated. This year is the 25th year for the program.
The lodge is partnering with Centra Credit Union and The Centra Foundation to accept applications and donations for the program.
To apply, send a letter briefly describing the family situation and the name(s) and ages(s) of the child/children.
All letters must contain a good address and telephone number. Failure to comply with any of the above will result in the letters not being kept for consideration.
Those chosen to participate will be notified by mail. The deadline to submit an application is Nov. 16.
Applications may be mailed to or dropped off at Seymour Police Department, 205 N. Ewing St., attention Detective Sgt. C.J. Foster.
“Please think of these children this upcoming holiday season,” Foster said. “It is now more important than ever that we show our community what we are all about.”
Centra Credit Union will accept donations at the Seymour branch, 520 S. Jackson Park Drive. Donations will be accepted Nov. 18 through Dec. 13.
“Centra Foundation is delighted to partner with the FOP to ensure that less fortunate children in Jackson County will have presents to open this Christmas,” said Centra Foundation president Lyn Morgan.
The foundation is centered on caring and aims to work to address local needs within communities where Centra Credit Union has a branch, Morgan added.
Last year donations made at the Seymour branch enabled the FOP to take an additional 27 Jackson County children on the holiday shopping trip.
With the help of Centra members and friends, the goal is to raise sufficient funds to enable at least 50 children to receive holiday gifts this year.
They encourage local residents to stop by the Seymour Branch and make a tax-deductible gift. Donations can also be made online at centrafoundation.org.