July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Police taking kids on shopping spree

WADSWORTH — Police will be making spirits bright today in Medina County.

The eighth-annual Shop with a Cop event begins at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at Wadsworth High School.

At 10 a.m., after the breakfast of pancakes, sausage and juice, police will load 101 children from underprivileged families across Medina County into police and fire vehicles for a parade down Broad Street to High Street, with lights flashing and sirens blaring, and into the Wal-Mart parking lot on East Smokerise Drive.

All children will receive $100 gift cards to buy anything they want, with Wadsworth police guiding them through the store.

Wadsworth Detective Matt Markley said this year’s event is the second largest in the eight years. A couple years ago, they had 114 children, he said.

“I think we’re not even really scratching the surface. We’re taking 101, but I know there are more out there that meet the criteria that we haven’t gotten to,” Markley said. “We’ve had no repeat children in the past eight years.”

The children, usually between 5 and 12 years old, are selected by various civic agencies, charities and churches around the county. In Wadsworth, the Salvation Army selects the children, and other social service agencies picked kids to represent the Medina County Sheriff’s Office and Seville, Montville, Rittman, Spencer and Hinckley police departments.

Money is raised through donations and the sale of raffle tickets. This year, the program is raffling off a 50-inch LG flat-screen TV, an iPad and a $200 Visa gift card. The raffle tickets were sold for a $1 apiece. Donations totaled $10,100. Any donations made today will contribute to next year’s program.

“It’s a program we’re still continuing to try to grow and reach out to as many children as possible,” Markley said. “We can only do that through donations and ticket sales.”

Wadsworth Municipal Court employees will be helping out, while members of the Fire Department cook the breakfast, and employees from the county juvenile court provide assistance.

Markely said volunteers are welcome and may call him if they’d like to help serve breakfast at (330) 336-2405.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.a