The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

December 20, 2009

Shop with a Cop program helps 65 local children

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Dozens of police officers, motorcyclists and royalty from the Geneva Grape Jamboree all worked together to make Christmas a little brighter for area children in need.

Sixty five children, all somehow involved with Ashtabula County Children Services, were able to experience a bit of Christmas joy thanks to the efforts of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 114.

The FOP Lodge has partnered with Children Services for the past 11 years.

“When the children aren’t with their families it is just so hard,” said Kathryn Whittington, community services coordinator for ACCS.

“A lot of the (children) get to meet police officers in a positive atmosphere and bond with them,” Whittington said of the experience for the children.

Dennis Slother has been helping raise thousands of dollars for many different charities as a co-founder of the Louie Run, a motorcycle benefit ride held each Fall at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

He said he became aware of the Shop with a Cop program and the Louie Run trustees decided to give $1,000 to the program.

Skip Eller, secretary-treasurer of the lodge, has been coordinating the event for 11 years. He said officers from Geneva, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Jefferson, Andover, North Kingsville and a few Ashtabula County Sheriff’s deputies participated in the program, as well as county game wardens and area park rangers.

Rachelle Kovacic, second attendant from the Miss Grapette Pageant, wore her gown while helping children shop and volunteers from the Guardians motorcycle group also offered their help.

Each child got at least one person to help them shop for their special gifts.

Bill Peters, lodge president, said many different individuals, businesses and social service organizations donated to make the event possible. “It’s a real nice thing for the kids,” he said.

Eller said Walmart allows the officers to use the store and donates money as well.

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