In October, Officer Dan Weegar requested that the Newark Police Department initiated No Shave November, a program in which each participating NPD and Animal Control member agreed to donate $100 to help a local family impacted by crime.
During this time, Newark Walmart manager Pearl Miller and human resources leader Trudi MacBride collaborated with Sgt. Nicholas Dapolito to start Shop with a Cop. Miller participated in the event while she was a manager in Gates.
Mark Miller, director of grant services and special programs for Newark Central School District, helped obtain a $3,000 Walmart Giving Grant to support the program. NCSD, in conjunction with Mike Crespo from the Youth Advocacy Program of Wayne County, identified families that could use assistance at this time of year.
As this effort gathered steam, NPD’s No Shave November was extended through December with another $100 donation and Newark officers volunteered their time to participate in Shop with a Cop. NPD raised $2,800 through the No Shave program.
Christmas came early for 16 families and 43 children at the Newark Walmart. These families spent the morning with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Buddy the Elf and his helper, and shopped with NPD and YAP members. Children created their own stockings, and enjoyed doughnuts, juice and pizza as they participated in Shop with a Cop.
The program provided a police officer and $125 gift card to each child. While the program was in progress, many shoppers made immediate donations to raise an additional $220.
“Newark officers were honored to be able to give back to the children of the community,” Weegar said. “Our agency was able to donate $2,800, combining that with the Walmart Giving Grant and event donations to total $6,000 to assist 43 children in Newark to buy items that they need and want. The morning was spent getting to know the children in the community, building bonds and relationships that should extend well into their adulthood. NPD feels very strongly about community policing, knowing the children and adults in our area, and want to be seen as an agency that can be used in many different ways than just law enforcement.”
Dapolito said, “While walking through the store, seeing their smiling faces and watching the excitement of the children as they were going up and down the aisles, picking out their favorite toys, games or electronics and seeing them dancing around the store holding what they picked out was a really rewarding and fulfilling feeling. My fellow officers expressed the amount of fun and enjoyment they had while shopping with the children was immense. I was proud to participate in this program and I believe it brought officers closer with not only the children, but their families as well in the community we proudly serve. All the members said they were looking forward to continuing this event in years to come.”
Mayor Jonathan Taylor said he was “proud of the efforts of the police department, Walmart, Newark School District and everyone who participated.”
“This event is another example of the community working together to support its residents and keep Newark moving forward,” he said.