Kids relish ‘Shop With A Cop’

The rules of Shop With A Cop are two: no air-soft guns and all video games and movies purchased must be age appropriate.

Beyond that, Walmart was wide open for nine kids on Dec. 14, each with $100 to spend on whatever they want for Christmas, school or other needs.

The store donated $700 to the police department and private citizens added $200 more in the second annual Shop With A Cop. The kids, some with siblings in tow, spent an hour or so shopping with a Hood River Police officer or Hood River County Sheriff’s deputy. Chief Neal Holste said it’s a way for the officers to spread some cheer, and for the kids to develop a positive impression of the men in uniform.

Bikes, toy cars, stuffed animals, clothes, and, yes, a video game or two, went into the youngsters’ baskets as they and a parent or family member perused the aisles, the officer or deputy keeping track in their notebook, with help from Walmart store associates.

“So what’s the deal?” a customer asked when they saw Holste and middle schooler Toby, his individual (as the chief likes to call the young shoppers).

“This young man got to pick out a bicycle,” Holste said, and explained how Shop With A Cop works.

“That’s a wonderful thing,” the woman told her. Holste said Toby “told me right off he knew just want he wanted. He had the bike ready. He’d been thinking about it all week.”

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids who are in need to get things for Christmas they might not have,” said reserve deputy Bob Stewart. His individual, Enrique Flores, bought toys, some things for school, and socks for his brother. Manuel, 15 months. Sisters Brianna and Daisy, 9 and 6, also got to choose a toy. “It’s awesome he’s sharing with his siblings. I appreciate his thought,” Stewart said.

“I’m really thankful they’re doing this for the kids, especially this time of year,” said Enrique’s mother, Luz Flores.

Sharing their $100 was the pattern with the individuals. Fabiana Alejo of Parkdale let her brother, Manuel, choose a toy, and he broke into a huge smile when deputy Jess Flem told him he could go pick out the car of his choice. The generosity went the other way, too: when police Sgt. Don Cheli’s individual chose a toy for her sister, and it went over the $100, Cheli pitched in for the extra.

Holste said he would love to see the program expand with the help of other retailers.

“It’s great. I’d spend five hours shopping if we had to. It’s a great gift. These kids are excited.” “It’s pretty nice of the community to do that, to bring the kids so much joy is just amazing. It’s really cool,” said Hilda Alejo. mother of Fabiana and Manuel. (During Shop With A Cop, Alejo ran into an old friend, Dixie Webber of The Dalles. Alejo was the nurse at Webber’s former doctor’s office and the two women had not seen each other in a few months. “I thought I heard a familiar voice,” Webber said, and came from one aisle over to give Alejo a hug and tell her she misses her.)

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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