Anonymous $5,000 donation makes Hurricane Police’s first back-to-school shopping day possible for 26 kids

One of 10 families who participated in the shop-with-a-cop event for back-to-school shopping hold up their new items at Kohl's, Washington, Utah, Aug. 7, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Ken Thompson, St. George News

WASHINGTON — After receiving a $5,000 donation, Hurricane City Police officers met 26 kids and their families at Kohl’s on Friday morning for a shop-with-a-cop event in preparation for the kids to return to school.

Hurricane Police Officer Dan Raddatz pushes a cart during the shop-with-a-cop event held at Kohl’s, Washington, Utah, Aug. 7, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Officer Ken Thompson, St. George News

This is the first year the Hurricane City Police Department has held a back-to-school shopping event, Officer Ken Thompson told St. George News. The idea for the event evolved several months ago toward the end of the 2019-20 school year.

At a time when some families are facing more uncertainty and financial hardship, the Police Department approached elementary schools in the city to find 10 families who would benefit from this type of program.

“Two of the three schools responded and gave us 10 families,” Thompson said, “and out of those, there were a few that weren’t able to make it, one that was moving out of the area, so we ended up with 26 kids total.”

After finding the families, the manager of Kohl’s offered to hold the event at their store and continued to worked with the Police Department to further develop the event.

At 8:45 a.m. on Friday, five Hurricane Police officers, Chief Lynn Excell and the families met at Kohl’s, which opened an hour early for the event so the kids and officers would have the store to themselves while they shopped for jeans and shirts, backpacks and shoes.

Hurricane Police officers and families meet at Kohl’s for the shop-with-a-cop event for back-to-school shopping, Washington, Utah, Aug. 7, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Ken Thompson, St. George News

Kandie Anderson, the mother of two of the children who were chosen for this event, told St. George News that she was so grateful to the Hurricane Police Department and for the love she finds in the community.

“We struggle to make ends meet, and because of this program, my kids are able to wear nice brand-new clothes that we would not have been able to afford,” she said. “Having new things just gives them that sense of self-worth and self-esteem that they need.”

Thompson said each child had a limit of $200 to spend, which stretched a lot further than many thought.

“Most of the families did not spend the entire $200. They got more than they thought they would,” he said. “This is just another way we can give back to the community, and that’s something we love to do – to help people out when we can.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the prime fundraising events for the Police Department have been canceled. The money for this event was largely funded by a Hurricane man who asked to stay anonymous. Excell told the Hurricane City Council at their Thursday meeting that earlier in the week he and some of his officers were eating lunch at a local restaurant when a resident came over and started talking to them about things going on in the community.

“The following morning he walked into our office and gave us a $5,000 donation to go towards buying these things for the kids,” Excell said. “I was very choked up. I spent about 20, 30 minutes talking to the gentleman. He does not want his name out there anywhere. He doesn’t do it for recognition. He does it because he wants to help.”

Excell said the man also discussed some other programs he’d like to see in the community and said he would be back to help with the shop-with-a-cop event in December.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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