This Sunday, December 18th, the Lakewood Officers Charity will hold its annual “Shop with an Officer” program at the Lakewood Wal-Mart located at 7001 Bridgeport Way Southwest. The event starts at 9AM and usually runs to about noon. In addition to shopping, the kids will also have an opportunity to visit with Santa, enjoy cupcakes and get their picture taken with him as well.
Each year the Lakewood Officers Charity partners with the Lakewood Wal Mart to provide Christmas gifts for needy families in the Lakewood area. The Lakewood Wal Mart is a generous partner, awarding the Charity with a $2000 grant and a discount on the purchases to make this happen. The Lakewood Officers Charity purchases all the gifts and Lakewood Police Officers volunteer their time to pick up the kids at their homes in their patrol cars, shop with them at the Wal Mart, wrap up their gifts and return them home. The kids get to shop for presents for their immediate family members and themselves too.
This year, 15 families were nominated by Lakewood Police Officers, the Clover Park School District and the Domestic Violence advocate at the local DSHS Office. All of the families were selected to participate in the program and includes one military family from JBLM. The Charity received nominations of kids that were affected by tragic events, impacts from crime or financial struggles. Some kids were selected due to broken family situations (domestic violence or abuse) or their families are financially unable to purchase Christmas gifts. One 11 year old child selected was in a vehicle last year where his best friend was killed in the collision. Another child has been struggling since her mother was killed, while another family lost all their belongings in an apartment fire. Another 11 year old child was chosen because the family is struggling financially since her 2 year old sibling was diagnosed with leukemia. A couple of kids were chosen because their parents are no longer in the picture and they’re living with extended family members. This is just a sampling of the situations affecting these children and their families.