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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

Shop-with-a-Cop lives on because of K-Mart employee's dedication, deputy says

By Tracy Lund

December 11, 2006 | NORTH LOGAN -- Christmas came earlier than usual for 46 Cache Valley children, not to mention 46 Cache law enforcement officers.

Officers from every agency in Cache County teamed with local retail store K-Mart for "Shop with a Cop," a program where kids can team up with an officer and spend $100 on anything they want to buy.

Sgt. P. Anderson of the Cache County Sheriff's Office said while the program used to be sponsored by K-Mart, it hasn't been for a long time. When K-Mart stopped their sponsorship, one employee stepped in to keep the program going.

"Relda Sandgran at K-Mart wanted to keep this program going for the kids," said Anderson. "She starts every January and works all year to raise money for the program, she makes lunch for the K-Mart employees and sells it for $3 a plate to raise money."

The money raised by Relda and K-Mart employees combined with donations from local businesses and money raised by the Deputies Association make the program possible each year.

Anderson said the festivities started at 8 a.m. on Saturday with breakfast for the kids and the officers at Golden Corral, then off to K-Mart to shop and meet Santa Claus.

"It was an awesome thing to see," Anderson said. "We leave Golden Corral and we go lights and sirens all the way to K-Mart, with each kid in a separate car running the lights and sirens." Anderson said people driving around at that time probably think there is something really big going on with lights and sirens going in 46 police cars, but the kids love it.

Anderson said there were more cops than kids this year. "When we got to K-Mart, I looked around and it was just a sea of brown," she said. "The officers love doing it. After they come the first time, they always come back."

Once they arrive at K-Mart, each child gets a $100 gift card to spend any way they like. Anderson said when a child is chosen for the program they take a list home to fill out with information about the number of siblings in their home, then with just a little bit of guidance from the officers, the kids get to pick out the things they want to buy. Anderson said many come knowing exactly what they want to buy and others have a harder time deciding.

"The program is growing more and more each year," Anderson said, "and everyone is fine with that. Relda's goal is the same every year -- just one more kid."

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