DU QUOIN -- For more than a decade, the Du Quoin Police Department has promoted and organized the "Shop With A Cop" program in the community. Paid for by various public fundraisers throughout the calendar year and private donations, "Shop With A Cop" helps to provides a brighter Christmas for those children whose parents may not have the financial resources to provide a nice Christmas for them otherwise.
Police Chief Les Vancil said $100 is spent on each child -- about half going for clothes and the other half on a toy or toys. This year, a little over 100 children were served for a total expenditure of $10,000.
"It's just a great feeling to be able to give these children and their families something special for Christmas," he said. "Mom and dad don't have to worry about finding the money to buy for their kids."
Vancil said he and his staff received plenty of help assisting the children when making the purchases Wednesday evening at the Du Quoin Walmart store. There were representatives of the Du Quoin Fire Department, Perry County Sheriff's Office, Perry County Emergency Management, Pinckneyville Police Department and Illinois State Police, as well as some community volunteers.
"The way we select the children is based in part on a list provided by the school district and in part from the recommendations of our own officers," Vancil said. "Hopefully, this is a program we can continue to do in Du Quoin for a number of years to come."