Jackson County hosted their third annual Shop With a Cop event at the Ripley Fire Station on Saturday, Dec. 21. Thirty-six children were selected to participate in this year’s event.

The day began with breakfast with Santa, in which each child was presented with a goodie bag including a winter coat, gloves, toboggan, and shoes as well as a variety of other items. The children were then invited to sit on Santa’s lap for a picture, and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Door prizes were then awarded by ticket number and each child was able to pick out a gift from the toy table.

After breakfast, the children were introduced to officers from both Ripley and Ravenswood Police Departments, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. They were then assigned to an officer who would be taking them to Walmart to shop. As the officers escorted the children outside, a special surprise was waiting for each one, a brand new bicycle.

The officers then loaded the children up in the police cruisers where they were able to turn on the lights and sirens. A parade of police cruisers, lights and sirens blaring, took off to Walmart where each child was given $200 to purchase gifts.

“This is so wonderful to see,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger said. “Each kid has their own personality. When we go shopping, some of them are really thrifty. Some kids want to spend money on their siblings or their parents.”

Mellinger said the event would not be possible without the support and donations from the community.

“What is amazing is the amount of people who just come in and drop off donations for this cause,” Mellinger said. “Jackson County is such a close community.”

This was the third year for the event that continues to grow each year.

Donations for the event are accepted all year-round at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Ripley.