Shop with a Cop helps kids get new clothes and get ready for school

RAPID CITY, SD — The Salvation Army helped kids get new school clothes and priceless things with Shop with a Cop Tuesday.

Eighteen children arrived from Pine Ridge at Walmart on Catron Road to pick out new clothes and shoes.

“It’s really great fun to see the kids and they’re having fun and they’re happy to choose their own items,” said Salvation Army corps officer Major Vanjie O’Neil. “But more than that, it’s just wonderful to know that they’re going to be able to go to school and focus on what they need to focus on because they have the things provided to them – to be able to have the things other kids have and don’t have to worry about.

Each student had $90 to use for shirts, pants, boots, sneakers, coats, jackets and everything in between.

Shop with a Cop began on the Pine Ridge reservation in 2010 and has been going on for over 15 years.

“We reached out to all 13 elementary schools on the reservation, explained to them the curriculum we had and what it entails. Schools will take students to Walmart and let them buy clothes, things they can use for school, and basically just kind of a day with law enforcement or in this case today, we have a lot of school counselors who help us, chaperones who help us,” said John Long, the Native American representative on the Salvation Army advisory board.

Shop with a Cop has been found to help give children a sense of self-worth and positivity.Buy with a cop1

“We try to teach morality, not to be materialistic. However, when you put on a new shirt for school, school clothes, and see other children with school clothes and you don’t have any, that child makes you depressed about your situation. Peggy Sanchez Vizcarra, social worker at Wounded Knee School District, said. “So we try to make our kids respect themselves and think about others, think about being grateful for things. So when we picked our students, we picked those who we thought were in need. However, those who have been coming to school pretty much every day since we started. So that gives them a bit of a boost.”

Major O’Neil says it’s important to continue this special because there is still a need.

“If it stopped being a need, we would stop doing it,” she said. “But we keep seeing a few kids who just need a little extra help.

Wednesday will have another store with a cop, this one for Rapid City kids at Walmart on LaCrosse at 3 p.m.

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