The Gladstone Area Chamber of Commerce will collect donations for both the Northland Christmas Store and Shop with a Cop to help make area families’ Christmas holiday brighter, according to a press release.
Through the years, the Gladstone Area Chamber has raised money and collected specific grocery items for the Northland Christmas Store pantry.
The Christmas Store is a charitable organization dedicated to providing aid to families and individuals in Clay County at Christmastime.
Throughout October and November, the Gladstone Area Chamber office collects a specific item for the Northland charity. Cases of jelly, peanut butter, cornbread mix and macaroni and cheese are some of the items donated by Chamber businesses and individuals in years past. This year, the chamber is collecting boxes of dry pancake and waffle mix.
This is the fourth year for Shop with a Cop in the Gladstone community and the chamber will collect money for Gladstone Public Safety officers to shop with a child whose family is having financial hardships.
“All the families selected are referred to me through the four public North Kansas City elementary schools here in Gladstone,” said Koren Barden, police officer with Gladstone Public Safety. “I work with the principals and counselors who select children they know could benefit, not only due to financial hardships, but also families who would benefit from a positive interaction with their local law enforcement.”
A selected family is required to have a Gladstone address before they can participate.
The child will be partnered with a police officer or firefighter and do their shopping together while the parent waits in a designated area in the store. If the child needs to have the parent accompany them due to special circumstances, they are allowed to do so.
Barden speaks with each parent to get background information on each child, and based on this information, pairs children with officers who she thinks would be a good fit.
The day of the event, Barden provides information to each officer about the child he or she is paired with including: special interests, needs, clothing sizes and specifics regarding their living situation.
“My goal is for the interaction between the officer and child to be as positive and meaningful as possible,” Barden said.
In 2018, Gladstone Chamber member businesses made donations through Thanksgiving and more than 600 boxes of Hamburger Helper were collected. Cash donations of $700 were given to support the Gladstone Shop With a Cop program.