Highlands Police Department gave about 16 area kids a magical day of shopping for Christmas gifts, hitting up The Factory in Franklin, and then wrapping all their goodies at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Highlands on Saturday through Shop with a Cop (SWAC).
“We participate in Shop with a Cop because we enjoy spending time with the kids,” said HPD Detective Andrea Holland. “When we deal with people, we may only see the bad, on this day, all we see is the good. It’s nice to get away from it all and just enjoy smiling and laughing. It’s good for the heart.”
The idea of SWAC is to take children who may have seen a different side of law enforcement or whose parents may have fallen on hard times and brighten up their Christmas.
Each child receives $100 to purchase gifts for themselves, but they have to buy one gift for someone else. The children’s names are given to law enforcement by teachers and members of the community.
Holland said the money is raised throughout the year through fundraisers and donations. Once all the shopping was finished and the kids had spent some time jumping on trampolines at The Factory, they headed back up the mountain to the Episcopal Church to wrap up their goods.
“The Episcopal Church began participating several years ago,” said Holland. “They provide wrapping paper for the gifts, coats, hats, and other items for the children. They have been instrumental in making our experiences with the kids brighter.”
Holland said they took about 16 children shopping this year and last year all told, Macon County took about 200 kids shopping.
Pictured below are photos courtesy of Highlands Police Department.
Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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