Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale begins Friday
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The 25th annual Shop With a Cop Christmas Tree Sale will go on as planned this year with a few adjustments.
As shoppers hit the stores to find gifts for friends and loved ones, they are encouraged to buy a freshly cut Christmas tree with the knowledge they are helping out youth and families in need for the holiday season.
The Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale, a collaboration between area businesses and the Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, begins on Friday, November 22, 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.
The association plans to sell approximately 200 trees. The trees come from the Dutchman Tree Farm based in Manton.
Douglas Fir and Black Hills trees are priced at $40, Blue Spruce are $35, and Scotch Pine sell for $25.
The sale will be staffed on the weekends to help customers load the trees into their vehicles or to tie them down. The hours will be 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. 6 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
A dropbox, attached to a camper for the sale, will be available for people who wish to help themselves when buying a tree.
Payments can also be made at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, located at 200 W. Michigan Avenue.
“If you don’t feel comfortable depositing the money for your tree in the dropbox, you are more than welcome to bring your payment to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office,” said Detective Sgt. Ryan Swope.
The trees will be sold through Sunday, December 22, or while the supplies last.
“A couple of days before Christmas Eve, we have a few Charlie Brown trees that are left over, we’ll normally leave them set up, and if a family needs a Christmas tree, they can take it,” Swope said.
For the last several years, the Arctic Glacier ice company has donated the use of semi tractor-trailer to transport the trees from Manton to Grayling. That arrangement could not be made this year.
“They have been a huge help for us for many, many years in the past,” Swope said.
Ryan Halstead, the owner of Ryan’s Firewood, LLC, had volunteered the use of his semi tractor-trailer this year to transport the trees.
Donations and sales from Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale allows sheriff’s employees to purchase gifts for kids just before Christmas.
Since its inception, deputies took the students shopping at the Grayling Kmart, when they went on winter vacation from school for the holidays. The kids were given an allowance of $110 to spend on needed items, and then for fun items for themselves and their families. The Grayling Kmart provided a discount, which allowed the students involved in the program to get the most bang for their buck at Christmas time.
But since the Grayling Kmart is slated to close its doors for good on Sunday, December 15, the shopping outing will not be possible this year.
“We touched base with Kmart with the hopes that we could do the Shop With A Cop a little bit earlier, but it didn’t look like they were going to have enough stock to do it, and it didn’t look like that would be the case,” said Swope, who added that sheriff’s office employees acknowledge Kmart for its years of support for the program.
Instead, this year parents and their children will be asked to fill out wish lists detailing items they need or want with sizes and their choice of design.
The gifts will be ordered on-line, and given to the youth at a pizza party.
Swope stressed that youth should focus on ordering essentials such as boots, coats, hats, and snow pants to prepare for the long winter season.
If students and parents do not have access to a device to fill out an on-line wish list, arrangements can be made to accommodate them through the sheriff’s office.
“If that is something that we need to do, we’ll host a time where they come in here to look up those items,” Swope said.
Up to 25 children, from 10 to 12 families, are selected to take part in the Shop with a Cop program.
The Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association works closely with the Crawford County Department of Health and Human Services and the Crawford County Community Christian Help Center and Food Pantry to help brighten the Christmas holiday for struggling families.
“This is a great program that has grown drastically throughout the years. It provides a lot of services to the youth of Crawford County, not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year in itself,” Swope said. “I know that everybody that works for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office knows that this is really special that the money we raise provides services to youth and ultimately makes Crawford County a better place.”
The pizza party will again be hosted at the Grayling Eagles Club #3465. 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 as well as supplies for Christmas dinners for the children to take home.
Officers from the Grayling Department of Public Safety will also be helping out with the program this year.
Funds from the tree sales also go towards sponsoring Grayling Little League teams, and funding a scholarship for a local graduate who is interested in pursuing a career in the criminal justice field.
“We would like to thank the community for their continued support of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, and the Cops for Kids program that has allowed us to support the youth in Crawford County for many years and hopefully we can do that for many more years to come,” Swope said.