‘Cops ‘N Kids’ to bring joy to children, families in need

Pictured is a donation jar in Lead for the program. Pioneer photo by Paul Baker

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NORTHERN HILLS — In the spirit of the holidays, local police departments will gather donations in an effort to help provide gifts for children and their families who may not be able to afford a the traditional Christmas.

Lead and Spearfish will be merging again this year to bring kids shopping for gifts on Dec. 17 at Walmart in Spearfish.

In Lead, donation jars will be dispersed around town for those willing to give a little to help a lot. Jars will be at grocery stores, gas stations and other various locations around the area. Donations can also be dropped off at Lead City Hall.

“We don’t buy the gifts at all,” Lead Police Chief John Wainman said. “We get a list of kids that may not be privileged enough to have much of a Christmas. So then we take those kids shopping and we stress on them the importance of buying for family over buying for themselves.”

The kids mostly buy gifts for their siblings, parents, and anybody else in the family.

Last year, the Lead Police Department brought 11 kids over for shopping. 

Candi Watts, Spearfish school resource officer, has facilitated the effort for years. 

This year will be a little different from previous years, however. 

“This year, we’re going to partner with Black Hills Badges for Hope (BHBFH),” Watts said. “So they are going to be our sponsor this year. Our plan is to take about 15 local kiddos.”

Black Hills Badges for Hope is a nonprofit foundation out of the Rapid City area between first responders and community members.

They will be raising the funds for the Spearfish area, as well as Pennington County and other small Black Hills towns. With the help of volunteers, the foundation brings opportunities to communities. 

Last year, in Pennington County, BHBFH partnered with 34 local kids to go Christmas shopping alongside members of the Rapid City Police Department. This year, their goal is to raise $11,500 to help 115 kids and their families in not only Rapid City, but other small Black Hills area towns. 

So far, the foundation has reached nearly half of their goal. 

To donate or volunteer, go to bhbadgesforhope.org.

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