A community wide effort, currently sponsored by the Lafayette Lions Club, brought in $3,277.31 over the weekend.
Santa’s helpers in black leather jackets could be seen on the streets on Saturday to raise money for charity. Members of the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club, the Rescue Squad, the Lafayette Police Department and Lions Club members collected money from a road block between 11 a.m. to about 3 p.m. as part of an annual fundraiser.
Contributions will go to the Santa’s Helpers fund.
This year’s Santa Helper’s event, formerly known as Shop with a Cop, in which needy children from around the county will participate in a mini-shopping spree at Wal-Mart in Lafayette, will be held on Monday, December 12.
The local police and sheriff’s department originally sponsored the annual Shop With A Cop program, receiving donations to pay for the shopping. Christmas gifts were provided for children in need through a shopping trip with local law enforcement acting as chaperones.
In the beginning, an officer would take the child to Wal-Mart and let them pick out what they wanted, encouraging them to be sure they get what they needed. However, in the past couple of years, volunteers have awaited chartered buses bringing the children to Wal-Mart after they were treated to a special meal. Each volunteer was assigned a child and spent time with them picking out their Christmas gifts. “It wasn’t unusual for a child to want new clothes, a warm coat, or something to give to other family members instead of all toys,” said Shelia Lowhorn, Santa’s Helper committee member.
This year, parents will bring the children to Wal-Mart’s vision center on December 12 from 6-9 p.m. Due to the shortage of volunteers, school aged children will shop under their parent’s supervision. Two checkout lanes will be designated for their use. When they have finished their shopping they will be given vouchers for a meal at a local restaurant and small toys for their siblings not yet in school. New unwrapped toys or used toys in like new condition can be dropped off at Cash Express for the Santa’s Helpers program.
Lowhorn said, “We try to spend around $100 per kid. We’ll collect all the way up until the shopping date.” A donation container will remain at Wal-Mart until the shopping date.
The charity is already looking forward to next year and ask anyone interested in helping or donating to contact Gary Whitaker, program chairman.