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Madawaska area officers to help some children buy Christmas presents

MADAWASKA, Maine — Area police and federal agents are putting on their elf hats and teaming up with the Madawaska Police Association for the 3rd annual “Shop with a Cop” event to take place mid-December.

Shop with a Cop is an initiative funded by donations from community members that enables area officers to pair up with elementary school aged children with “limited means” to shop for Christmas presents for the child’s family.

The children are chosen by the school and police department and are matched up with an officer from one of the four participating law enforcement agencies.

“It’s about increasing a child’s self-worth and self-esteem by having them feel like they’re  contributing,” said Madawaska Police Chief Ross DuBois, the organizer for the program in Madawaska.

Last year, 16 officers from the Madawaska Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office took a dozen children shopping to Mardens with close to $1,000 collectively to spend on Christmas gifts.

DuBois said a majority of the funds come from public donations, but there also have been officers in the past who have sponsor a child out of their own pocket.

“We take the children Christmas shopping for their parents and siblings,” DuBois said. “Many families are struggling this time of year.”

DuBois said this event gives the officers from the different agencies a chance to interact with the youngsters in a special way that “helps build trust” between the youths and law enforcement.

“Christmas is such a special time of year,” he said. The event helps the officers be a positive presence in the lives of the children and helps the parents feel a part of the community, he added.

The association has not met its goal yet for funding this year, and is seeking donations. Anyone willing and able to help with the cause is encouraged to make a donation at the police department.

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