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Shop With A Cop application deadline Oct. 19

October 11, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Applications are now being accepted for the Cape Coral Police Department's Shop With a Cop program to take place on Dec. 15 this year.

"Everything from the beginning to the end," Cape Coral Police Department Community Outreach Projects Coordinator Joy Nyack said of what she enjoys about Shop With A Cop. "It's truly chaotic and fun. To see their face and how it lights up and to see how happy they are is the best feeling ever."

Nyack said she usually tells people she chooses between 35 to 40 children to participate in Shop With A Cop, now in its 16th year. The number typically stops at 35, so she can accommodate up to five children who are in need at the last minute.

"The Shop With A Cop is more one-on-one," Nyack said.

The police department also does a Fill the Boat program, where individuals donate toys that are then are sorted into age groups. A few days before Christmas, they deliver presents to the parents, so they can wrap them for their children.

"This is the 12th year we are doing it," she said of Fill the Boat.

Children chosen to participate in Shop With A Cop are picked up at their home by an officer between 8:30 and 9:15 a.m. and first taken to breakfast at the McDonald's on Pine Island Road and Santa Barbara Boulevard. From there they participate in a group photograph in front of Walmart at 9:30 a.m. before they start shopping with an officer with a Walmart gift card in hand from 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"They shop for themselves, as well as any member in their family that lives at home," Nyack said. "They get to be the Santa Claus."

After they finish their shopping, the children are taken back to the police station where they wrap the presents and enjoy a pizza lunch, complete with desserts. The officer then drops them off at home with bags of presents.

"Usually we hear back from the students that we changed their lives. Teachers have responded as well," she said.

This year, School Resource Officers, who are in the schools will see children who are, perhaps, in need and so may qualify for the program. The SRO will give the application to the family and have them fill it out, Nyack said.

To qualify, the child must be available to shop Saturday, Dec. 15, be in kindergarten through 12th grade and the child and their family must live in Cape Coral.

Nyack said the money for this program is provided by the sponsors of Do The Right Thing.

"Every county has their own Do the Right Thing Program," she said.

Applications can be picked up at the Cape Coral Caring Center, the Cape Coral Police Department lobby, in schools, as well as at

The application, liability and photo release must be received no later than Friday, Oct. 19. The application can be mailed, or dropped off at Cape Coral Police Department, 1100 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral, Florida, 33990. If mailed it should read: Attn: Shop With A Cop.

The applicant will be notified by phone no later than Monday, Oct. 29.

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