Shop With A Cop a savior for parents, students

Raising two school-age granddaughters on an hourly wage of $7.50 makes it tough for Shelby Ikard to provide anything extra for the girls.

But Thursday, Ikard got a boost, thanks to the Fraternal Order of Police Chapter in Iredell County, which funded a shopping spree to buy school supplies and clothing for 6-year-old India Davidson and 5-year-old Nadia Ikard.

A total of 123 children took part in the annual Shop With A Cop on Thursday at Kmart in Statesville.

FOP President Ron (Duck) Wyatt said that's the largest number of children in the program's history.

The money for Shop With A Cop usually comes from a telephone fundraiser each summer, but due to the economy, some of the money spent Thursday will come from the FOP itself, Wyatt said.

He said the state FOP experienced a 50- to 75-percent decrease in donations this year, and on a local level, that number was 40 percent.

"We could tell by the phone calls that people scaled back in their giving. Some said they couldn't give at all this year," he said.

One person who received those fundraising calls in the past found herself and her family in need of the program this year.

Laketa McKinney, her husband Jimmy and their five children spent a couple of hours picking out winter coats, shoes and other supplies.

"I used to get these calls from the FOP and I always wondered where the money went," she said. "Now I know, and I'll definitely be a future donor."

The funds raised, in addition to money from the FOP, allowed each child to get about $112 worth of school supplies or clothing, Wyatt said.

Ikard said getting India and Nadia more than $200 worth of necessary supplies is a much-needed boost to her household.

"I really needed this," she said as she and her granddaughters, which also included 18-month-old Kimora Poston, waited to check out.

As she walked out of the store, she repeatedly thanked the members of the FOP who were on hand to help with the program.

Dawn Byers, who was shopping for supplies for her two sons, Damion, 9, and Jimmy, 16, said she was able to get pants for the two quickly growing boys.

"I appreciate this so much," she said.

Nearly all of the families offered a heartfelt thank you to the FOP members.

Many of the children were more hands-on with their thanks, hugging the FOP members.

Wyatt said seeing the children come out of the store with winter coats and new clothes is exactly what the program is all about.

McKinney said she's glad her children were able to benefit this year.

"I've heard about this program, but to experience it is completely different," she said. "I really do appreciate it."

Credit: Statesville Record and Landmark, N.C.

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