Law enforcement goes Christmas shopping with kids. That's what "Cops and Kids Christmas" is all about. Each year, the White County Fraternal Order of Police members, FOP Lodge #249, takes the names of underprivileged children from White County and goes shopping with them at Walmart. The program first started in 2000 with 12 children. It has since grown to 45 to 60 children that the FOP actually go shopping with. If there is additional money left over after shopping with the selected children, the FOP then goes shopping for other children and delivers those gifts on Christmas Eve.
The event is coordinated with other giving programs in the county to ensure that all children in need are picked by at least one of the organizations. "Cops and Kids Christmas" operates solely off of donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals, and all donated funds go completely back to the program each year. Carmi Police Department Officer Jonathan Lucas spearheaded the original event and has continued to lead the program through the years. This is his 23rd and last year of managing the event, as he will be retiring next year.
On shopping day, each child is allotted an amount of money to spend and is paired up with a member of the FOP lodge. Last year, the children each had $250 to spend, and the amount of donations continues to increase each year. The money is split between clothes, shoes, socks, coats, toys, and fun gifts. Applications can be picked up at the Carmi Police Department, White County Sheriff's office, Norris City Village Hall, and Enfield Village Hall. Donations are also accepted at those locations as well as to any police officer. Checks should be made to Cops and Kids Christmas or FOP 249. The shopping date this year is Saturday, December 17.