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Police buy gifts for underprivileged children during Shop With a Cop event

Officials said that 78 Blount County children participated in the program on Saturday, shopping with police officers.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Police officers helped Santa Clause out on Saturday when they helped 78 Blount County children get gifts for Christmas during the 2020 Shop With a Cop event.

Officials said that the event looked different this year due to COVID-19, with police officers and children wearing masks. However, police officers still showed up to make sure children got the Christmas they deserved. Officials said that more officers than children showed up.

"Now more than ever we are seeing a great need for assistance in our community,” Shop With a Cop board president Jarrod Millsaps said. "Our passion and the mission of this organization is to assist underprivileged and at-risk youth in Blount County. The needs of our citizens don’t stop because of COVID-19."

Officials said that the organization hosting the event received several donations from businesses and individuals this year.

The event was dedicated to Ken Beeler, a retired Alcoa Police Officer who died earlier this year. Officials said he was a longtime member of a local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The Shop With a Cop tradition began in 1989, officials said.