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Cops take kids shopping

ARLINGTON — Cody Butler begged his mom Cherylann to take in two foster children recently, and they all got to go shopping with a cop Saturday, Dec. 13.

“Cody’s best friend was one of the boys who died in the fire,” said his mom. “It’s good to see him laughing and playing with kids again.”

Almost a hundred kids from around Snohomish County gathered at Arlington’s Haggen Food & Pharmacy, eating muffins and donuts while waiting to be assigned to an officer from one of many participating agencies.

“Haggen’s founding principal is to be a contributing member of the community,” said the store manager, Matt Johnson.

Along with launching the Shop with the Cop day, Johnson’s store hosted the U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots program, offering a matching gift for each gift bought for $9.99.

Haggen’s coffee shop was crammed with kids and their families starting at 10 a.m. and the crowd gradually dispersed as the children were assigned cops to go shopping with.

Not only did they each receive $70 in cash to shop in one of several different stores, they also got to ride with a police officer in his or her vehicle to the store where they were to shop.

Along with serving breakfast to all the participants, Haggen also donated $1,500 for the kids to shop with.

“Wal-Mart donated $1,300 and Fred Meyer donated $600,” said Earl Louks, a coordinator of the project. All tolled $7,600 was collected from businesses and attorneys, Louks said.

This Shop with the Cop program served kids from around Snohomish County, and a separate program was also offered in Pierce County.

“We couldn’t do this without the help of Haggen,” Louks said.

Officers came from many Snohomish County city police departments, including Arlington, Lake Stevens, Edmonds and Mukilteo, tribal police from Stillaguamish, Tulalip and Swinomish, and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department and Washington State Patrol.

Toys for Tots

At the other entrance of the Arlington Haggen store, Sergeant Joshua Webb patiently waited for donations of toys for the U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots program throughout the day. Webb was at the store for the second time Dec. 13 after spending all day Saturday, Nov. 29 there as well.

“We’re getting more money than gifts, today,” Webb said.

He said that the Toys for Tot program has in the past been coordinated by the Marine Reservists, but currently all the reserves are in active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Marines are assisted by church groups and the American Legion in Sedro-Woolley.

The children in need are identified through school lunch programs and food banks, said Webb’s assistant at the donation table, Ed Dallego, a retired Marine who served in the Korean War.

“Please mention how helpful Haggen has been,” Webb said.

“Haggen donates matching gifts as well as letting us stand here,” Dallego said.

Haggen also has a trailer on site where shoppers can donate nonperishable food for the food bank.

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