Local Law Enforcement Makes Positive Impact with Kids Through Christmas Shopping Program

The Carrollton Tony Jackson Garrett Lodge #35 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is an organization that consists of full-time employed and retired members of local and state law enforcement. The lodge also consists of associate members who support the FOP’s mission. 

The FOP is the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement personnel, with more than 330,000 members in more than 2,200 lodges. The Tony Jackson Garrett Lodge #35 was chartered on April 24, 1975, and was named for a Carrollton police officer who was killed in the line of duty. 

The FOP is very active with helping local special needs children and adults, underprivileged children and children who have been affected by crimes – either as victims or witnesses. The lodge also supports FOP members, members of public safety, the Special Olympics, the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), as well as numerous other local groups and civic organizations. 

Cops, Kids and Christmas 

This year’s “Cops, Kids and Christmas” event will be held in December at Walmart in Carrollton for special needs children and at Target in Carrollton for kids who have been affected by crimes and the underprivileged. 

On the day of the event, the kids meet the officers they will be shopping with at the Train Depot in Carrollton. Santa Claus drops in, listens to the children’s Christmas wishes and takes photos with them. After time spent with Santa, the kids climb into police cars with the officers and are encouraged to play with the patrol car P.A. system, lights and sirens on the way to shop. 

Once the cops and kids arrive at the store, breakfast is provided for the children. After breakfast, the children go with their police officer partner to shop for their gifts. They are given, on average, $200 to $250 for Christmas shopping and are encouraged to purchase whatever they would like within the budget. 

“Some of the kids select items they need, such as clothing or personal items,” says Det. Sgt. Dan Keever, past president of the FOP. “Some of them purchase gifts for their siblings and parents. It touches your heart to see these children – some of whom have so little – think about others before thinking of themselves. Another fun thing about the event is watching the kids as they speak over the patrol car P.A. system and flip the switches to change the lights and the sounds of the sirens while riding in the car to shop. It is so much fun to interact with these kids and see the big smiles on their faces.” Det. Sgt. Keever says this event means so much more than just a nice thing the FOP does for the community. “Cops, Kids and Christmas” gives children positive interaction with law enforcement and helps to plant the seed that the children can count on the police when they need them. 

If you make a $100 donation to the Cops, Kids and Christmas program, the FOP will match $100. To help kids in Carroll County receive Christmas gifts through this program, call Eddie LeBlanc at 770.318.5618 or you can mail your donation to the Carrollton FOP at 115 West Center St., Carrollton, Ga. 30117. Donations of any amount and gift cards to Target or Walmart are gratefully accepted. The Carrollton FOP is a nonprofit 501(C)(8), and all donations are tax deductible. 

Wednesday Night BINGO 

Another fun and exciting way you can support the FOP’s charitable programs is to attend its weekly BINGO night every Wednesday at Venue 1625, located at 1625 Bankhead Highway in Carrollton. 

Compete each week for a chance to win $1,500 during the electronic and paper BINGO, participate in a 50/50 raffle with several prizes and enjoy refreshments at the concession stand. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the first ball is called at 7 p.m. Masks are recommended and social distancing is in place. 

All proceeds from BINGO go directly to the FOP and their charitable programs. 

For more information on Cops, Kids and Christmas or BINGO, call Eddie LeBlanc at 770.318.5618 or email Eddie@cmbrentals.com or eleblanc@carrollton-ga.gov. Follow the FOP at http://www.facebook.com/carrolltonfop

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