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Arlington children Shop With A Cop
ARLINGTON — More than 60 area families received support from regional law enforcement, military members, businesses and other organizations during the Fraternal Order of Police’s annual “Shop with a Cop” program in Snohomish County.
The Arlington Haggen Food and Pharmacy store served as the staging grounds for the event Dec. 12, as members of FOP Puget Sound Lodge 15 and military police from Naval Station Everett were paired off with local kids in need, giving the youngsters tours of their duty vehicles before driving them out to nearby stores that took part in sponsoring the event, such as the Quil Ceda and Everett Walmart stores, for holiday shopping sprees of $100 per child.
Earl Louks, president of FOP Puget Sound Lodge 15, explained that officers came from the Tulalip, Arlington, Lake Stevens, Granite Falls, Mukilteo and Edmonds police departments, as well as the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Corrections, to help out families who are living from paycheck to paycheck, those with “special needs” and those that either began as single-parent households or recently lost a parent.
The program began in Snohomish County with only five families in 2003, but has since expanded, thanks in part to referrals from community groups such as neighborhood churches and social service agencies, among them the Salvation Army and the Arlington-based Support 46.
Sisters Brindley and Kiley Parramore were bundled into car seats in the back of an Arlington Police vehicle alongside fellow Arlington resident Aden Keating, before Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Jensen picked out a Girl Gourmet Sweets set at Brindley’s request at the Quil Ceda Walmart. Snohomish County Corrections Deputy Stewart Nicholas picked out a bike helmet and the bike to go with it at the Quil Ceda Walmart for Arlington’s Amanda Martinez, while Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy Clint Postlethwaite and Detective Dennis Montgomery had to remind Arlington’s Jeremy Wolfa not to open the toys in his cart until after they’d been paid for.
Marysville resident Jaiden Lynd-Stowers was escorted by Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Sanders at the Quil Ceda Walmart, where Sanders had to curb some of Jaiden’s impulsive shopping choices.
“He was just picking up stuff like boom, boom, boom,” Sanders laughed. “If I was his age, I’d be doing the same thing. At the same time, he made sure to pick up stuff for his mom and other family members. He got a soap dispenser for his grandma all by himself. These families don’t necessarily have a lot, so it’s nice to give them a little something during Christmastime. The kids see us in a positive light, and I’m a kid myself, so I love going to the toy aisle with them. I’ll do this until I retire.”
Like Sanders, Jaiden took part in his second “Shop with a Cop” this year, and Jaiden’s mom, Joline Lynd, expressed her gratitude.
“Batman toys are Jaiden’s favorite,” Joline Lynd laughed. “We still would have had a good Christmas without this, because we still would have had our family for the holidays, but it’s good that they’re doing this, and helping out those who can’t afford much.”
Arlington father Brian Martin helped his three children — Kaina, Christopher and Tala — wrap the gifts they’d bought at Walmart. It was the Martin family’s first “Shop with a Cop.” Brian was recently re-employed, but after being unemployed for close to a year, he noted that his family was still catching up on its bills.
“It’s been really exciting,” Brian Martin said. “The kids still would have gotten stuff for Christmas, but it wouldn’t have been this good. The kids love shopping for their siblings and helping each other out when they’re not fighting,” he laughed. “I appreciate everything these officers are doing for us.”
Stillaguamish Tribal Police Officer Jeremy Mooring has done “Shop with a Cop” for four years, but this year marked the first that his son Carter joined him.
“My dad said I don’t think of others sometimes,” Carter Mooring said. “When I came with him, I saw kids who got five things for their dad, 10 things for their mom and other stuff for their brothers and sisters, and if they couldn’t get stuff for other people, they felt bad. I never thought about it that way.”
“I’ll ask these kids if they remembered to get stuff for themselves and a lot of times, they’ll say, ‘Oh, I forgot,’ Jeremy Mooring said. “Not everyone is as fortunate as we are.”
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