Shop with Cops 2015Fernandina Beach, FL – Santa Claus is always a big hit with the kids during the Shop with Cops program at Wal-Mart. Pictured above, Kassandra Zuniga appeared to like what she was hearing when she visited with Santa in 2013. The Police Department has recently confirmed that Santa plans to be in town for the event again this year.

The Fernandina Beach Police Department began its very successful Shop with Cops program in 2004 and now serves more than 150 local school children each year, providing the opportunity to shop with a police officer at the Amelia Island Wal-Mart store, while insuring that many of our underprivileged kids experience the joy of Christmas.

This unique program provides an opportunity for children in our community to spend some valuable time interacting with our uniformed police officers in a happy and positive environment. This kind of interaction is an important step in teaching some disaffected kids that police officers are guardians of the young and should be trusted in times of difficulty. We believe that this program has been a powerful relationship building success since its inception.

Donations are collected all year long and every penny donated translates directly to Christmas toys and much needed clothing. Our program participants are selected by local school guidance counselors, who make sure that only the truly needy are given the opportunity to participate in this special program, which was suggested by local resident Don Monahan, who continues to act as our volunteer chair. Please call Don directly to invite him to speak to your church congregation or civic group about the Shop with Cops program. He can be reached at (904)277-2091.

Please consider donating to this very worthwhile community program. The program is administered by the Fernandina Beach Police Foundation, which is controlled by a Board of Directors comprised of Amelia Island residents. The Fernandina Beach Police Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations to the Shop with Cops program may be tax deductible.

Donations may be sent to: Shop with Cops, Fernandina Beach Police Foundation, 1525 Lime Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

There is no doubt that this program provides some measure of comfort and hope to many of our young people, as well as their parents and guardians. As we notice each year, many of these needy children put others ahead of themselves, demonstrating great compassion for loved ones and understanding for their own social condition. Many pass by traditional toys and games, opting for essential clothing and household items.

The community support has been inspirational over the past decade, while it is my hope that our wonderful community continues to champion this worthy cause for many years to come. This program clearly benefits our community in ways that are difficult to measure.

Our most recent Shop with Cops videos can be found on the Police Foundation website at

Our next event will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at Wal-Mart.

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