It’s that magical time of year, everyone! The time to think of wonderful things, like wrapping presents, visiting with ol’ Saint Nick, and spreading Christmas cheer! Can’t you already hear the jingle bells ringing into the night? “Wait a minute Anthony,” I can already hear you saying in retort, “it’s the middle of Spring! It’s time to get out the garden hoe not think about a guy who sits around saying ho ho ho! It’s too early to even hear the word Christmas!” Ah, yes. Though the birds may be chirping, the sun may be shining, and the flowers may be blooming, as our guest, today will explain…it’s never early to start thinking about December!
This week, we are joined by Ashley Jefferson. Ashley works as the Marketing Director for the annual Shop with the Cop event. If you haven’t heard of Shop with a Cop, its a yearly outreach that looks to pair Elko’s local law enforcement with underprivileged children for a day of shopping and fun! I (Anthony) personally only knew “of” the event going into my chat with Ashley; I recognized it as the day where you would hear a lot of loud sirens headed toward Kmart. So, I’m going to let Ashley tells us more about herself as well as give us more details on what exactly goes on during Shop with a Cop. “This is my fourth year with Shop with a Cop. I am actually from Las Vegas and I worked for Wells Fargo Corporate; I did a lot of their charity type events in coordination with our employees in the corporate setting, for all of Southern Nevada. And when I moved here (Elko) I started working for the highway patrol, just in their office. And as soon as I started there I immediately asked what they did for charity work and they brought up Shop with a Cop. So I went in and talked with Jim Stewart, who acts as the director of the charity, asked him what I could do and immediately got involved. So within the first two years, I became the marketing director and joined the board. I do a lot of their community outreach and coordination for fundraising events, and so far, I cannot stop! I live and breathe Shop; it drives my family insane! But this year, December 8th is our twenty-fifth anniversary! So, I really hope this is our biggest one yet!”
That sounds great! I hope it’s a big year for the charity, as well! But let’s stop and talk about how Shop with the Cop actually works, that way everyone can know the details and hopefully get just as excited about it as we are, Ashley! “Shop with a Cop covers three counties, Elko, Eureka and Lander counties and with the Tribes in those counties as well. We take a hundred kids, roughly every year. It is an application process for low-income families or families who have suffered a recent tragedy or emergency, but we usually take two siblings at a time. For larger families, we’ll partner with Stuff the Bus and the Super Hero toy drive at Stray Dog to help take care of them. Each kid gets two hundred dollars to shop at Kmart for whatever they want, and they also receive a hundred dollar grocery gift card, for their area, so they can have Christmas dinner. On the day of the event, if they need a coat they are given a one and both McDonald’s here in town provides breakfast for them so they can eat with their officer and get some of the nerves out. They can also get their picture taken with Santa Claus, either by themselves our with their law enforcement officer, which they’ll be able to take home that same day. After breakfast, we get all of the kids into the patrol cars and parade down to Kmart to start shopping! After shopping, we also wrap all of their presents for them. It’s all donation based and we have hundreds of people there cheering the kids on and helping out.”
All of that sounds so much fun, Ashley! What are some things you’re thinking through right now, in Spring, as you prepare for December? “We normally do two hundred dollars each child to shop at Kmart but I’m hoping, for the twenty-fifth anniversary, we can give each kid an extra twenty-five dollars; however, that will be another twenty-five hundred dollars we’re going to have to raise this year. And if we have enough funds, I’m hoping to give another twenty-five dollars towards the grocery gift cards as well. Depending on how well we do, I would also like to partner with another charity and give them two hundred fifty or twenty-five hundred from us to them. It just depends on how fundraising goes this year” Fantastic, Ashley! And what do people need to know if they would like to donate throughout the year? “We’ll take anything! However, if you donate three hundred dollars or more we have a plaque we’d like to give you with your name on it. And every year you donate the three hundred or more, we’ll give you a “year plate” to place on your plaque. You may have seen several businesses with these plaques around town. You can mail donations to our office or drop them off anytime! We also have our fundraisers throughout the year where they can donate as well. I really encourage businesses to come out when we have our KRJC auction (usually the first Wednesday in December) because if you donate, we’ll announce you right on the air…good advertisement!”
Fantastic! Now, what would you say to those who may still be wondering why we’re talking about a December event this early in the year? “We should be excited for this all of the time! This event not only cares for the kids involved but it touches a lot of families overall in our community, especially with this being our twenty-fifth year! This is one hundred percent our own community coming together!” Ashley then went out to tell me about some pretty cool secret stuff she has planned with Santa this year that you’ll just have to be there in December to see for yourself, sorry!
But I will share with you a list of dates and details on upcoming Shop with a Cop fundraising events throughout this year! Let’s get out and support a great cause, Elko! Thank you, Ashley and all of the wonderful people who work so hard to make this great charity possible!
07/28/18 Spring Inn Bar Hot Dog Roast, auction and live band Back Lash, starting at 3 or 4pm. We might also auction or raffle a gun. All proceeds from food, raffles/auctions will benefit SWAC.
09/27/18 Bingo Night 6pm mountain time in West Wendover. I don’t have much info on it yet as it is in the planning stages, but LT Don Lininger with WW Police is organizing it and all proceeds benefit SWAC.
11/26/18 Festival of Tree. This will benefit the charities chosen by the Convention Authority/Festival of Trees board. Tree, decorations, and presents are paid for and donated by SWAC volunteers.
12/05/18 KRJC Auction will be held 10am-1pm at the KRJC Studio. All proceeds from auction items will benefit SWAC. We encourage donations at this time and will announce them live on air when they come in.
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See you around, Elko…especially in December!