Coatesville’s Shop with a Cop brightens holidays for local kids

Community, local law enforcement, volunteers and organizations come together for 14th year

By Lauren Parker- Gill, News Editor, The Times

McGruff the Crime Dog was on hand to greet the officers and children participating in the 14th annual Shop with a Cop Saturday morning at the Parkesburg Wal-Mart.

COATESVILLE – Christmas came early for 78 children in the city Saturday morning, as they were selected to participate in the 14th annual Shop With a Cop event that began with breakfast with Santa at Olivet Church and continued with a full parade procession led by dozens of police officers and two school buses to the Wal-Mart in Parkesburg.

Officer Tony Sparano of the West Caln Police Department initially started Shop With A Cop 14 years ago when he was with the City of Coatesville Police Department.

“They’ve done a great job keeping this program going all these years.” Sparano said of the Coatesville Police Department as he volunteered his time Saturday.

Corporal Paul Antonucci, his wife Jamie and daughter Francesca helped 7-year-old Dougie Jacks shop for his family and treat himself to a few toys as well.

Children were either nominated by their elementary school in the Coatesville Area School district, by a youth serving organization within the city or by members of city council.

Each child had $125 to shop with, thanks to fundraising, donations and a 10% discount provided by Wal-Mart. Officers who volunteered their time Saturday, were each assigned a child to help him or her shop for themselves, family or friends.

Corporal Paul Antonucci, along with his wife Jamie and their daughter 4-year-old daughter Francesca, helped Dougie Jacks, who now wants to be a police officer when he grows up, shop for gifts for his family.

As they approached the registers, Jacks was proud to show off the earrings he chose for his mom, along with a smart watch, an Air Hog helicopter and some Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtle toys.

“This is like an early merry Christmas for me.” Jacks said.

“The three months of planning and five hours of controlled chaos is worth it when you see the incredible interaction between the youth and the officers,” said Coatesville Sergeant Rodger Ollis. “I’m hopeful that the short period of time on Saturday creates everlasting constructive relationships between law enforcement and those touched by the program.”

The ‘elves’ which consisted of officers families and many other volunteers were busy wrapping presents that were carefully chosen by the children who participated.

All items that were purchased Saturday were then taken into the greenhouse part of the store, where volunteer ‘elves’ were waiting to wrap the presents, label them and load them into an awaiting truck. The gifts were then all transported back to Olivet Church and distributed to the children to take home.

The City of Coatesville Police Department thanks their contributors:

Witmer Public Safety Group

Witmer Public Dafety employees

Krapf Busing

Parkesburg Wal-Mart

Hope Beyond Borders

Coatesville Kids to College

Coatesville Police Union

West End Fire Company

We Kare @kw Exton

Fuel City Café

Egan Family

3CTV Live

They’d also like to thank the following police departments:

City of Coatesville Police Dept.

Valley Township Police Dept.

Caln Township Police Dept.

West Caln Township Police Dept.

West Brandywine Police Dept.

East Fallowfield Police Dept.

Sadsbury Police Dept.

PA State Police

Sheriff’s office

And volunteer organizations:

Lily of the Valley Masons

Coatesville City Council

Coatesville Youth Initiative

Hope Beyond Borders

Coatesville Kids to College

Chester County Safe Kids

Chester County Highway Safety

Teachers from the Coatesville Area School District

Witmer Public Safety Group

New Life in Christ Fellowship Church

Members of the Coatesville community

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