Rotary Club of Highlands celebrates 30th anniversary of Shop With A Cop

Rotarian and Highlands Police Chief Andrea Hollands hosted the Oct. 24 Rotary meeting that focused on Shop With A Cop, a program designed to foster positive relationships between police officers and children in Macon County. 

Chief Hollands introduced Highlands Officer Captain Leah McCall, who gave a presentation about her involvement in SWAC since its inception and said “it’s been a blessing to assist Macon County children who otherwise would have little or no Christmas.”

Macon County Sheriff Brent Holbrooks also participated in the program noting that  “I’m so proud of the way the Shop With A Cop program has grown, despite the challenges of Covid. This year we expect over 200 children will be able to shop for their families and themselves, with the help of police officers and members of the community.”

Sheriff Holbrooks introduced Caroline Cook who, along with her husband Jodie, have supported Shop With A Cop since 2007 starting with SWAC Rotary Bingo. Jodie, a longtime member and past President of the Rotary Club of Highlands, was on-board with the idea from the very beginning.  And his wife Caroline was with him all the way.

“I loved the idea of the program, but fundraising was an important necessity since police officers can’t ask for money, because of their role as public servants,” said Caroline. “It didn’t take long before I became a ‘street walker’ for Shop With A Cop – going up and down Main Street, asking merchants to join in this effort!”

She added that SWAC is a group effort.

“Shop with a Cop wouldn’t be possible without our generous partners like the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Highlands which provides winter coats, hats and gloves for each child,” said Caroline. “We’re grateful to Sheriff Holbrooks for recognizing the impact of inflation so now every child is given $200 to spend.”

Caroline also thanked her fellow members of the Mountain Garden Club to their support.

“I can’t forget to thank my street walkers – members of the Mountain Garden Club. They’ve been so helpful raising funds for the last five years to be sure these kids and their families have a happy Christmas!”

Additional contributions for Shop With A Cop are needed and can be dropped off at the Highlands Police Station or mailed to:

Caroline Cook
P.O. Box 2785,
Highlands, NC 28741

For more information email Cook at or call 828-526-2742.

Pictured at the top of the article from left are Dave O’Harra, President of Rotary Club of Highlands; Caroline Cook, Shop With a Cop Fundraising Coordinator and longtime supporter; and Brent Holbrooks, Macon County Sheriff. Not pictured: Chief Andrea Holland and Captain Leah McCall.

Rotary Club of Highlands provides lunch for Highlands School teachers

Over fifty Highlands School teachers and staff recently enjoyed lunch provided by the Rotary Club of Highlands on their October Work Day. 

In addition to lunch, teachers were awarded $100 stipends to purchase needed school supplies.

On behalf of the entire school, Principal Sarah Holbrooks and Assistant Principal Alyssa DeBois expressed their gratitude for lunch. 

Frmo left are Alyssa DeBois, Highlands School Assistant Principal; Gina Billingsley, Math Teacher,; Dave O’Harra, President, Rotary Club of Highlands; Sarah Holbrooks, Highlands School Principal.

Dessert that included a cake declaring “Teachers Rock!” was especially popular.

“I am so appreciative of the Rotary Club of Highlands’  annual generosity to teachers,” said Spanish Teacher Marlene Fairchild. “Assistance from and collaboration with the Club assures that we have the supplies necessary to engage our students and make our school such a special place.  Thank you for helping us teach and learn.”

Art teacher Jessica Moschouris said she appreciates being part of such a supportive community.

“A lunch like this gives us a chance to mingle with our colleagues, talk about our common goals and plans for the school year,” said Moschouris. “It is gratifying to know that the Highlands community appreciates our work and gives us a time to express our thanks for its support.”

Anyone wishing to help fulfill school supply wish lists is encouraged to contact Principal Holbrooks at

Caption: L to R: Alyssa DeBois, Highlands School Assistant Principal; Gina Billingsley, Math Teacher,; Dave O’Harra, President, Rotary Club of Highlands; Sarah Holbrooks, Highlands School Principal.

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