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It’s That Time of Year Again and Shop With a Cop is Here!
How a community comes together to look after its own.
DATE: NOVEMBER 11TH, 2021 | CUSHMAN AND WAKEFIELD KINGSTON
The story of Shop With a Cop begins in the summer of 2014 with two junior officers with an idea and initiative. While every Kingston Police officer joins the department to make a difference in their communities, these two wanted to go the extra mile for some of the city’s most vulnerable.
They decided to replicate a program already used in other provinces — kids 12 and 13 years old would be selected to receive gift cards to buy Christmas presents for their families.
On the first Wednesday in December, a pair of constables would volunteer their time to pick up one of the kids at their school. The teen would then ride along with the officers to the Cataraqui Town Centre in a marked cruiser and be provided with a breakfast that was generously donated by local merchants (Starbucks and Tim Hortons).
During the meal, the Officers would help the winner budget their gift card to make sure that every member of the family got a gift. The trio would then set out to shop!
When the shopping was done, the police would label all of the gifts and take them back to the station where they were wrapped by volunteers. Constable volunteers then delivered the sack of gifts to the winners and their families between the 22nd and 24th of December. This ensured that the gifts remained a surprise for Christmas morning!
Incredible Support Launched the Program
In its early years, this project was made possible only through the incredible support from Rhonda Mosher and the Cataraqui Town Centre who donated, and continue to donate, funds to support teens and their families. Constables also raised funds privately through friends and family to reach as many kids as possible — 13 in that first year.
Each year saw the program expand:
- Doug Springer provided Kingston Frontenacs toques and mitts for each winner, as well as OHL hockey tickets for the teens and their families to attend a special home game where the winners were honoured.
Merchants at the mall offered special discounts to the kids to stretch their gift cards as far as possible.
- Soon, other prominent philanthropists also got involved.
By Christmas 2019, the program had doubled its activities and was now supporting 26 Kingston families, all through the donations of private citizens and the gift of the police officers’ personal time.
The program finds a new benefactor
A new benefactor got behind Shop With a Cop in the summer of 2020. Local businessman Peter Kostogiannis and his team at Cushman and Wakefield Kingston learned of the program and offered to help raise money.
With his generosity plus that of his friends and associates, Shop With a Cop found enough money to support 62 Kingston families with $200 gift cards for shopping at the mall, plus a full Christmas dinner and a $100 gift card for groceries courtesy of Loblaws! Given the immensely trying times of the pandemic, the officers, volunteers and families were extraordinarily thankful for this incredible help.
Growth and new challenges lead to campaign to recruit new volunteers
While wonderful news, this rapid expansion posed a new challenge. Because the Kingston Police Force is a small service, it needed to increase its volunteer resources. With two officers dedicated to helping each winner, Shop With a Cop expanded to include Kingston Fire & Rescue, Frontenac Paramedic Services and emergency room nurses at local hospitals. All three groups were ready to help, but Covid-19 remained an obstacle.
With revolving lockdowns and an evolving health threat, Christmas 2020 was particularly challenging for the program. Police and the schools were concerned with exposure to the virus, and they determined that teaming the winners up with police and other first responders would not be prudent.
Fortunately, people who become first responders are not known to be quitters! School Resource Officer Constable Jennifer Knott stepped up and arranged for each of the 62 participating students to send their wish lists to her. She then organized a team of volunteers, and they spent the next six weeks, after work and on weekends, holiday shopping for 62 families! Once again, all of the gifts and groceries were delivered on time, and a Merry Christmas was shared with all these teens and their families.
With the massive success of Shop With a Cop 2020, Peter and Jen are at it again! This year, COVID presents the same challenges, and the bar has been raised to 65 families.
So if you are in the Cataraqui Town Centre in November and December, keep your eyes out for Constable Knott and her friends. They will be out and about spreading holiday cheer in the greatest city on earth!
How You Can Get Involved
We want to thank those who generously donated and participated in the 2020 Shop with a Cop program. With your support, the Kingston Police were able to shop, buy, deliver gifts and bring joy to children in need.
Our team at Cushman and Wakefield Kingston is excited to be announcing that we are joining forces again to help make a difference!
The 2021 bar has been raised with the goal to help 65 families making our fundraising goal $20,000.00. We are asking for contributions to help us meet or exceed our target. Cushman and Wakefield Kingston have donated $2,000.00 to kick start the initiative.
If you are interested in supporting this year’s fund-raising effort, you can make your cheque payable to: “Shop With A Cop” and send it to the company address below.
Thank you for considering this program.
Broker of Record and President
Cushman and Wakefield Kingston
Cushman & Wakefield Kingston | 78 Brock Street | Kingston, ON KL7 1R9 | CA
UPDATE: DECEMBER 16TH, 2021
We are happy to announce that our fundraising goal has been met for the Kingston Police Shop With a cop Program 2021, and will help 65 local vunerable families. We would like to thank all of those who got involded and generously donated to the program.