CALDWELL, Idaho — The Walmart in Caldwell was filled with smiles as the Canyon County Law Enforcement Foundation held its seventh annual Back to School Shop with a Cop event Saturday.
"It's important obviously there are kids in need throughout our community, this is a small token that we can do to get with some of those children and their parents and give back," Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said. "It's very important for children to get what they need to get back into the swing of school and a new year and have those supplies that some of them can't afford."
Nearly 100 local school kids joined officers and deputies from Canyon County for breakfast, then paired with an officer for a shopping spree inside Walmart.
"Seeing the kids they are a little timid at first, and they are a little bit nervous as they get to know the officers that are taking them around, but then they start to brighten and loosen up. They start talking about themselves, about their school, about their home life," Donahue said. "They build a relationship with these officers and realize these officers are just human beings. They have kids too and they're here to help them not just today but anytime."
Each kid received $200 to purchase their favorite backpack, school supplies, clothes, and shoes all for the upcoming school year.
"We do it every year because it's the right thing to do first of all," Donahue said. "These officers are volunteering their time, some of them worked a shift last night and they are here again this morning making sure that our community understands that we are here for them, especially these children."
Walmart, private businesses, and the Canyon County Law Enforcement Foundation raised the money through donations for the kids to get this opportunity.
"The families are very gracious about this. They have a lot of gratitude," Donahue said. "I know that parents have a hard time economically, and this is one way we can help them as well so if we can take care of the school problem, they can take care of something else for those kids."
It's an opportunity for officers and deputies to not only give back to their community but also to build relationships with the next generation.
"It is super important that these kids understand that law enforcement is someone they can always go to whether it is back to school, Shop with a Cop at Christmas, whether it is any time of the year, summer, winter, or fall," Donahue said. "These officers are their friends, and they will come to their aid at any time."