CEDAR CITY — Saturday morning, Cedar City Police officers, along with personnel from over a dozen other public agencies, spent the morning with nearly 100 local children as part of the annual “Shop with a Cop” program.

Iron County “Shop with a Cop” caravan, complete with lights and sirens, makes way its down Main Street, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 9, 2023 | Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Costello, St. George News / Cedar City News

The children arrived bright and to enjoy a warm breakfast donated by the Cedar City Elks Lodge and served at Canyon View High School. Elks Lodge members Gina and Angie said they are proud to have been helping in this capacity since 2002 by raising money through various events and efforts throughout the year.

“We love giving back to the community and look forward to this event every year,” said Gina. The Elks Lodge also donates a pair of shoes, hand-picked by each child, in addition to the breakfast.

Upon arrival, every child is greeted by Santa and a public safety official who becomes their designated shopping companion for the morning. Once breakfast is over, the kids hop in public safety vehicles and caravan down Main Street to Walmart with lights and sirens, where they each get to spend $150 on toys, home goods, clothing, and more. The early morning commotion down Main Street can be alarming for some residents, but many love hearing it is one of the kids’ favorite parts of the day.

“Not only does this program financially impact these kids and their families,” said Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams, “But it also serves the purpose of building positive community connections with the youth and law enforcement. We look forward to this event every year.”

Children of all ages raced around Walmart with enthusiasm, some walking hand-in-hand with officers, some hanging on to the shopping cart as they were zipped around the store. Baskets were loaded with items like bicycles, rollerblades, dolls, jackets, and more. After picking out gifts for themselves, their families, and even some of their pets, they were guided over to a special gift-wrapping station where their purchases were hand-wrapped by volunteers from the Southern Utah University athletic department, KKOS Lawyers, and various Main Street businesses.

Iron County “Shop with a Cop” participants help wrap Christmas presents for local children, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 9, 2023 | Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Costello, St. George News / Cedar City News

Public agencies that participated this year included Cedar City Police, Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Parowan Police, Enoch Police, Southern Utah University Police, Utah Highway Patrol, Cedar City Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, Iron County Search and Rescue, National Park Service, Gold Cross Ambulance, Iron County District Attorney’s Office, Utah Department of Wildlife Resources and Brian Head Public Safety.

“The impact of this event would not be possible without the support of our community’s generosity,” said Cedar City Police Sgt. Justin Ludlow. “It certainly takes our entire community to make this dream become a reality.”

The Cedar City Police Department would like to thank everyone who donated towards this event, as well as surrounding agencies who donated their time and resources to make this event so memorable.

The Shop with a Cop program accepts year-round monetary donations to assist children who need extra help during the holiday season. Donations may be dropped off at the Cedar City Police Department Headquarters located at 10 N. Main Street, Cedar City UT 84720, or by mail.

Written by Gabrielle Costello, Cedar City public information officer.

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