O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon police help lift holiday spirits for needy families

The 17th annual Cops and Kids event hosted by the O’Fallon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 198 took place Dec. 9 at the O’Fallon Wal-Mart.

In just three hours, 26 officers escorted 48 children from 35 families through the store, spending more than $16,500 on their Christmas wish lists.

The shopping spree was fueled by donuts and juice before each child was paired with an officer. O’Fallon Police Detective Brian Gimpel said the only part of the store the shoppers didn’t hit was the grocery section.

“Jewelry, make-up, hair supplies, clothing, electronics, and of course toys were a hot topic this year,” Gimpel said. “Everything from new coats, new boots, socks, games, bicycles, etc. were flying off the shelves. The carts were full and the lines were long at times, but everyone made it back to their parents or guardians safely and with a cart full of gifts.”

The FOP this year included a $100 Wal-Mart gift card with the gifts the children purchased to take the stress off some needy families.

“Many officers commented on the children as they thought of others as they were shopping and were appreciate for the gifts they received,” Gimpel said.

Gimpel said the FOP is always looking for new partnerships and programs that help build strong relationship within the community. Those interested in helping should email Gimpel at bgimpel@ofallon.org or call (618) 624-9553.