Annual “Shop with a Cop” brightens kids’ christmas

Joplin and Seneca Police team up for good cause

Jessica Rhine is shopping with her three nieces, and Officer Josh Fort with the Seneca Police Department is helping.

“It’s really great to see it in action and be here and just be a part of the giving and know that people are taken care of,” said Rhine.

There are nearly 200 students combined from Joplin and Seneca who are getting taken care of this year, buying needed items like food, clothes and shoes along with toys.

“To be able to get all three kids the stuff that they need, and then, of course, they’re kids.They’re gonna want toys, you know. We do our best to find them things that they will like as well,” said Rhine.

8-year-old Elexyia Burden enjoys picking out items with her aunt and Officer Fort.

“Shopping with a police officer is really fun. You get to tell em’ what you like and they could see if they could get the thing that you want,” said Burden, a Seneca student.

Fundraising efforts on behalf of both police departments means each child receives $150 to make Christmas a little brighter.

“We actually start sending out applications to families in need based on teacher recommendations, principals, people who sign up for our snack packs. We currently have 70 kids on our snack pack program. We just wanna be there for families who might need help during Christmas,” explained Leticia Sabado, Bright Futures Coordinator and School Base Service Worker in Seneca.

Officers appreciate seeing the children give back as well.

“I’ve even had them buy for their other family members, their other brothers, childrens’ fathers, mothers. Very nice,” said Seneca Patrol Officer Josh Fort.

All this giving warms Rhine’s heart.

“The generosity is truly amazing,” said Rhine.

Seneca and Joplin Police Departments raised a combined total of over $20,000 dollars. The event helped students ranging in age from early childhood to high school.