Muncie Crime Stoppers
As the school year comes back around, local police officers in Indiana and Georgia are helping kids prepare for fall by taking them back-to-school shopping.
In Muncie, Indiana, officers helped approximately 100 children shop for school supplies at a local Target store as part of an annual event.
The event, hosted by Muncie Crime Stoppers – an organization that works with local police officers and businesses – provided each child with $100 dollars to spend on school supplies. During the event, officers helped kids find all of the necessary items for school.
Muncie Police Chief Nate Sloan told the press how important the event is for him.
“I look forward to these events every year. We are able to interact with the kids, get what they need for school, and it leaves our officers feeling humbled and appreciative of the opportunity to serve,” he said.
The event was organized for the last time by retired Muncie police officer Chuck Hensley. Hensley also did his fair share of work at local schools as the former chief of security for Muncie Community Schools and a security officer at Northside Middle School.
“I’ve been in the schools for years,” Hensley said. “One year we had a kid come to school with his tennis shoes wrapped in duct tape, there is always a need for a program like this.”
Ray Dudley, a former Delaware County sheriff and current chief of security of Muncie Community Schools, said it wasn’t difficult to gain financial sponsors. The event was financially supported by CenterPoint Energy and Eagles Lodge 231.
“We find that we are never short on people in the community that want to help. People have seen the benefits of the program and how we help the kids get ready for school,” Dudley said.
This Christmas, Muncie Crime Stoppers will hold its annual Heroes and Helpers event, which gives Christmas gifts to children of families in need.
Meanwhile, in Gwinnet County, Georgia, police officers handed out free backpacks filled with school supplies, and helped kids pick out a new pair of shoes at Shoe Carnivl for the upcoming school year as part of the “Cops and Kids Back to School Event.”
The event was hosted for the 10th time by the Gwinnett County Fraternal Order of Police lodge.
Connie Chesser, president of Lodge 66, said the event is made possible by donations from residents and local businesses, and is important for allowing kids to see police officers in a community-oriented light.
“So many times the first contact people have with a police officer is due to domestic issues — traffic stops or other incidents,” Chesser said. “They don’t understand what is going on and that we are just doing our job. We do our Cops and Kids programs to let them know that we are there if they need us and they can call us for help.”
“As far as I know, no other organization is making sure kids have a new pair of shoes, and the great thing about it is they get to go in and pick them out themselves,” she added.
Lodge 66 Trustee Carlos Llorens said the program has helped over 1,500 kids throughout the years.
“This is something that we really love to do,” Carlos Llorens told the Gwinnett Daily Post. “The hardest part is finding the right kids because people don’t realize the struggles that some people go through today. There are a lot of kids out here struggling just to get a meal. As a community organization, we want to reach out to people in a way that is impactful and this has been very impactful.”