Shop With A Cop Grant Supports Foster Care Christmas Party

When the Wellsville Kmart closed in March of this year, it effectively ended the local Shop With A Cop (SWAC) program. This summer, the SWAC Committee used its remaining resources to set up an endowed fund with the Allegany County Area Foundation. The fund’s objective is to carry on the SWAC ideals – enhancing the holiday season for kids while also giving them a positive interaction with law enforcement personnel.

The first-ever grant ($500) from this new Wellsville Shop With A Cop Fund was awarded this month to the Allegany County Department of Social Services in support of its annual Foster Care Christmas Party. This event brings together children in foster care, their parents and siblings and foster parents.

Held December 9 in Cuba, the party, according to DSS Homefinder Caseworker and party organizer Jennifer Bigelow, saw a record number of children, parents, foster parents, relative caregivers, and DSS staff attend. Approximately 70 children received a gift from Santa. Also on hand to help were over a dozen officers from the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department, Cuba and Wellsville PDs, and Amity-based State Troopers. Ms. Bigelow reports “we were excited to have law enforcement attend and donate their time. They frosted cookies with children and families, helped Santa hand out gifts, and served approximately 150 people a hot meal and dessert.”

In addition to food and gifts, party highlights included a bounce house, a DJ to play holiday themed music, and a photo back drop for family portraits that were printed on site. The Grinch even showed up to entertain.

Ms. Bigelow noted her appreciation for those that made the party possible – host Cuba VFW, Otis Eastern, individual donors, volunteers, Assembly of God Church (which provided the meal), Xi Alpha Omicron sorority, and community members that contributed children’s gifts.