(Above) Eli Arnold, a first grader at Clear Creek Elementary School, got some help with his holiday shopping from Clear Lake Police Officer Cory Gute.-Reporter photo by Chris Barragy.
By Marianne Gasaway
Christmas spirit was shining bright last week, as local students had the chance to do some holiday shopping with members of the Clear Lake Police Department. The annual Kids and Cops Holiday Shops event was held at Larson’s Mercantile in downtown Clear Lake. Twenty students from Clear Creek Elementary and 10 from Garner-Hayfield-Ventura Elementary School teamed with members of the local Police Benevolence Association to shop. Participants were instructed to choose items they want and need, along with something they would like to give to another. Each student had a $50 budget, with funds provided by the Benevolence Association, as well as Larson’s Mercantile.
“The kids have a great time and put a good deal of thought into what they would like to be able to give their parents, or another significant person in their lives,” said Sara Puttmann, Student/Family Services coordinator for the Clear Lake School District.
While some students may have started their shopping experience a little apprehensive, they soon had big smiles on their faces and felt a connection with the police officers and dispatchers who helped them while their parents waited in the front of the store.
“This gives us a chance to interact with younger kids that we normally don’t meet,” said Officer Cory Gute, who was among the CLPD officers taking part. “It is fun for us and the kids have fun.”
Again this year, Clear Lake Bank and Trust made its basement available for shoppers and their families to enjoy a pizza party, supplied by Papa Everett’s Pizza, Clear Lake. Pizza, cookies and drinks were enjoyed while the Rotary Club wrapped gifts.
A number of sponsors provided financial contributions used to purchase large stockings filled with toiletries for each family. Kappmeyer, president of the Benevolence Association, and his wife, Tara, a dispatcher at the CLPD, did all the shopping for the stockings and police officer spouses prepared each stocking for giving. New this year, Culver’s of Clear Lake contributed certificates for free kids meals to be placed in the stockings. Lake Dental donated toothbrushes and toothpaste to include.
Kids and Cops Holiday Shops was sponsored by Billion Ford of Clear Lake, Clear Lake Bank and Trust, Clear Lake Community Schools, Clear Lake Rotary Club, Culver’s of Clear Lake, Farmers State Bank, Kingland, Lake Dental, Larson’s Mercantile, MBT Bank, Papa Everett’s Pizza and Snyder Construction.