A handful of students from Middlesboro Schools had a special start to Christmas thanks to the Middlesboro Police Department. The annual Cops for Kids event took place at Ryan’s restaurant on Thursday.
Ten special students were chosen to spend lunch with local police officers and receive a few choice gifts. Children were chosen based on family income and personal need by Middlesboro Independent Schools.
“It’s good to be able to give back to the community and the kids whenever they can’t, and the family can’t, provide for them. This is the time of year for that kind of thing,” said Lt. David Buis.
According to Buis, the event has been going on for more than 16 years.
“This has been going on for a while, now. It’s become something everybody looks forward to — the kids and us,” said Buis.
Students returned to school after the event to attend holiday parties with their classrooms.
Money for Cops for Kids is raised by MPD through an annual golf tournament and motorcycle ride, as well as through additional fundraisers and donations by local businesses and citizens.
“You could really tell these kids were thankful for what they were given and for getting out of school for a little bit — you could tell in their actions and what they said to us,” said Buis.
Parents of the students that are chosen fill out a sheet that describes the child’s likes and interests as well as their size. Employees from Walmart are given the task of following the descriptions to pick out items for the kids ranging from fun items like toys to necessities.
“We gave them a few things they needed — a coat, socks, underwear, stuff like that — but something they can play with and want to have fun with too,” said Buis.
The event is organized by Buis and officer Petie Gilbert.
Similar events have also taken place this year to benefit students in Pineville Independent Schools and Bell County Schools during the Christmas season.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.