FOP wants help with Santa Cop event
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003
NATCHEZ &045;&045; In its 11th year, the Fraternal Order of Police is continuing its program to help area children have a very merry Christmas with its Santa Cop program.
&uot;I think all kids deserve new clothes and toys for Christmas,&uot; said Lt. Gail Frisby, Natchez Municipal Court officer.
&uot;There are a lot of people … that actually don’t have what it takes to give their kids what they deserve,&uot; Frisby said, but the Fraternal Order of Police, Mississippi Lodge No. 4, in conjunction with the Natchez Police Department and others, make sure area children in need get something for Christmas.
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In this 11th year, it will be the same as before, as the police officers and their families, along with the Department of Human Services, Adams County sheriff deputies, ambulance workers and Vidalia police pick up the approximately 40 children for a day of shopping.
On Dec. 20, the day will start at McDonald’s for breakfast and then the children will head to Wal-Mart to shop.
But it is not all about toys but also about fulfilling needs. Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said officers provide the children with necessities, buying shoes, a coat, school uniforms if they need them and underclothing.
&uot;Once those necessities are purchased, we let them buy some toys,&uot; Mullins said.
After shopping and lunch at Natchez Regional Medical Center, the officers take the children home but definitely not empty handed.
Along with their new items, the officers send home meat, such as a ham, with canned goods, sweet potatoes, fruit and other food items.
&uot;Usually enough for a Christmas dinner,&uot; Mullins said. That way, the event helps out the entire family, not just the children.
Frisby said the officers will only take children 6 years and older but will shop for other children in the home if they have their sizes written down.
The names of the children and families in need come from the Department of Human Services, the school system, the Guardian Shelter and the Salvation Army.
Local businesses and individuals donate the money to pay for the food and shopping.
That is the way the community gets involved, Mullins said, and the police welcome any monetary donations to give the kids presents this Christmas.
&uot;Without the local support … we wouldn’t be able to do this,&uot; said Lt. Jody Waldrop with the Natchez Police.
This year Frisby said the FOP will take about nine children from the Guardian Shelter alone.
One mother was so excited the police were helping her out for Christmas, she told Frisby, &uot;I already told him (her son) we weren’t going to have Christmas this year.&uot;
&uot;She was just so happy,&uot; Frisby said.
Also, Frisby said the police are extending a helping hand to the three children of Tatanisha LeKeytha Thomas by taking the children along to shop next weekend. Thomas was killed on Sunday.
Not only do the children get something out of it, the police officers do as well.
&uot;I have found it to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve done,&uot; Mullins said.
&uot;Because you take a child that has so much less than you had growing up and you are able to help them for a small time.&uot;
Waldrop said he enjoys anything involving children but this has been a good experience for him and his children when they participated with him.
&uot;They got a lot out of it too,&uot; he said.
also said it helps get the police officers out in the community for a positive purpose.
&uot;It gives us a chance to do something for the kids in the community,&uot; she said.
&uot;It’s going to be fun.&uot;