Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
A Potosi family with six kids knows this all too well. The dad was recently laid off from his job. The mom is working hard to support her family of eight. Now, the family is behind on their bills and they have no car. The added stress of paying for Christmas is another burden the family doesn’t need right now.
A couple of Potosi police officers heard about the family’s dilemma and referred them for Washington County’s Cops for Kids program.
“We just like to step up and help people out when they really need it,” said Lauren Adams, a full-time Potosi police officer. She runs the Cops for Kids program. She started working on the force in 2010 and took over the program in 2011.
Adams and a few others began sifting through applications on Tuesday from the Washington County Community Partnership, which is where families apply to be considered for the program. They will select 100 kids ages 2-15 to take part in this year’s shopping event, to be held Dec. 18 at Potosi Walmart. More than 20 full-time city and county officers will help at the event later this month.
This program is something Adams “fell into” when she worked at the sheriff’s department. “I work my full-time job and run this on a part-time schedule.”
According to Adams, enough money was raised in 2018 to take 100 kids shopping to spend $100 each. They focus on the families with kids who are having a hard time financially.
“If we wouldn’t be there to help them, then they wouldn’t have Christmas.”
The program also helps families in emergency situations.
“Throughout the year if there is a family who has lost their house to a fire, or a family in need, we try to help them throughout the year,” said Adams.
To fund Cops for Kids, Adams, other officers and volunteers have planned fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the program. A spring golf tournament is held every March or April to kick off the new fundraising year. Adams tries to make their golf tournament the first of the year annually because more people are willing to donate more earlier in the year.
Other annual fundraisers include a fish fry, barbecue, bake sale, and chicken and dumpling dinner. These events usually generate money needed to fund most of the program.
Adams says there are many ideas being considered for fundraisers for 2019, including a possible scavenger hunt, chili cook-off and more.
“We want to get more people in the community involved to interact with the kids,” said Adams. “We want to let everyone see all the positives that cops do.”
Adams said working on the Cops for Kids program is amazing, and the day of shopping is the best day of the year.
“With all the smiles on the kids’ faces, you can see how appreciative they are,” she says, “and it’s just so heartwarming. I couldn’t stop doing what I do. I just keep going because I love it.”
Monetary donations are greatly appreciated. They can be directed to the program by contacting Adams at 573-438-5478. More information can be found on the Washington County Cops for Kids Facebook page. Silent auction items of any kind are also needed for the spring golf tournament.