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Youngsters enjoy shopping with a cop

December 06, 1997

Youngsters enjoy shopping with a cop

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Six-year-old Josh was reminded several times Saturday morning that he could spend up to $50 at the Kmart shopping spree sponsored by the West Virginia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 83.

But when the quiet youngster came to the checkout, he only had a $4.99 laser gun.

"That's what I wanted,'' Josh said.

More than 100 children showed up at the store at 8 a.m. Saturday. All had been suggested by schools, churches and civic groups, according to Tom Engle, one of the organizers of the event.

"We've been doing this for seven or so years,'' Engle said. "We have fund-raisers to come up with enough so about 100 children can have $50 each to spend.

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That comes to a whopping $5,000.

Taking the children through the aisles Saturday were uniformed police from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties. There were also representatives from the Department of Natural Resources and the Eastern Regional Jail.

"The children are allowed to get whatever they want,'' Engle said. "They can get toys for themselves or gifts for others or both.''

There was no running, no greedy frenzy ... no pushing or shoving. Some children were finished in a big hurry while others did a lot of comparison shopping - looking for the best deal.

Eleven-year-old Katie was one of the quick shoppers. She'd had her eye on a CD player for some time and that's just what she got.

"It's what I've always wanted,'' Katie said.

It came to a little more than $50 but her mom made up the difference.

Michele was a very happy 9-year-old when she found the Dream Phone she'd seen on television.

"It talks to me,'' she said, grinning from ear to ear.

Christina, 13, displayed her practical side, bringing her treasures up to the special check-out for the children.

"I got boots, socks, school supplies and gloves,'' she said. "I have enough toys.''

That comment prompted a smile from Ranson Police Officer James Knott, Christina's shopping companion on Saturday.

Kayla, 7, of Kearneysville, got a Movin' Groovin' Doll and a princess doll.

"It's just what I wanted,'' she said as she left with her mom.

One mother wrote down the name of the K-Mart manager and the police officer so her daughter could write thank you notes later.

Another mother, Nina, also brought her two children to the shopping spree Saturday.

"We just moved here about a year ago and this means a lot to all of us,'' Nina said.

Other children chose BB guns and BBs, World Wrestling Federation tapes and of course, CDs were very popular.

Autumn, 9, got a play telephone and an alarm clock.

The treasures gathered up by Ashley, 11, included a matching headband and gloves, a necklace, a paint sprayer and a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal.

"I came here a month ago from Cumberland where I managed the LaVale Kmart,'' said Bill Caughey, store manager. "We did this at that store for many years.''

Berkeley County Sheriff Ronald Jones was also a "veteran'' at the shopping spree.

"This isn't the first time I have participated,'' he said. "I try to help every year.''

The Kmart arranged for Santa Claus to appear Saturday. And the store personnel wrapped 100 free gifts - one for each child. The store also provided refreshments for the children and their parents.

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