Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale is underway
When shoppers and bargain hunters go to local stores to find perfect gifts for family and friends, they are encouraged to purchase a fresh Christmas tree at the Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale to help support needy children.
The 22nd annual Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale, a collaboration between area businesses and the Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, is underway in the Grayling Kmart parking lot.
The Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association consists of current and retired road patrol deputies and corrections officers from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
Members will staff the tree sale from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
“We’ll have people there selling trees and will help with tying them to the cars,” said Deputy Ryan Swope, the vice president of the Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
During other times during the week, a drop box attached to trailer by the trees will be available for customers to pay for their trees.
“If anybody wants to come during the week, they’re more than welcome to, then just the money in the drop box,” Swope said.
Picking up a tree has always been on the honor system when the sale was not staffed, and customers were asked to drop off their payments at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
Swope said members of the association wanted to streamline the process.
“Our group of guys that do this are all kind of all having families and things like that, so it’s kind of hard to be up there several days a week,” Swope said. “We want to make it possible for people to still get their trees, but not have to drive up here to pay. Potentially, we will have people up there during the week - it’s just not going to be a guaranteed thing.”
The association plans to sell approximately 250 trees, ranging in price from $25 to $40. Scotch Pine Trees are $25, Blue Spruce are $35 and Black Hills Spruce, Balsam Firs and Douglas Firs are $40.
The sale runs through Thursday, Dec. 22, unless all trees are sold prior to that day.
Proceeds from the Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale go toward the Shop With a Cop program.
Deputies take the students shopping at the Grayling Kmart, when they go on winter vacation from school for the holidays. The kids are given an allowance of $110 to spend on needed items, and then for fun items for themselves and their families. The Grayling Kmart provides a 10 percent discount, which allows the students involved in the program to get the most bang for their buck at Christmas time.
Up to 25 children, from 10 to 12 families, are selected to take part in the Shop with a Cop program.
“It’s something that we look forward to every year,” Swope said. “It kind of rings in the holiday season for us.”
Donations from individuals and businesses makes the Cops for Kids program possible, regardless if they purchase a tree.
The Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association works closely with the Crawford County Department of Human Services and the Crawford County Community Christian Help Center to help brighten the Christmas holiday for struggling families.
“We get all the names together and we take the kids out and do our own thing,” Swope said.
After the shopping excursion, the youngsters are treated to a luncheon at the Grayling Eagles Club. Pizza is provided by the Grayling Moose Lodge #1162 and Women of the Moose #827.
The Grayling Eagles Women’s Auxiliary donates huge food baskets for the children to take home, with money raised at a fund-raiser during University of Michigan and Michigan State University rivalry football game.
Swope said all groups involved enjoy taking part in an effort to give back to the community for their support.
“It’s a tradition that we’ve all grown fond of being part of,” he said.