Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale is underway
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale has a new location in Grayling, but serves the same mission – providing the best possible Christmas to local students and their families.
The 23rd annual Cops for Kids Christmas Tree Sale, a collaboration between area businesses and the Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, is underway at the future site of the Northern Market, located at 2059 South I-75 Business Loop, were ProBuild operated.
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 sale was held in the Grayling Kmart parking lot for several years.
The Clark gas station, located adjacent to Kmart, used to allow the officers to plug into electricity through its sign to power a trailer used to stage the sale. That arrangement could not continue since the gas station closed and the sign was removed.
“The last three or four years, I’ve been wrestling with generators and trying to come up with different ideas of how to still have heat while we’re sitting there,” said Deputy Ryan Swope, the vice president of the Crawford County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
Swope approached Therese Kaiser, the farm market manager for the City of Grayling, to inquire about using the Northern Market property this season.
“They were more than willing to have us there, so we’ve got electricity and kind of our own little lot there,” Swope said.
A sign alerting customers that the sale has moved next to Walgreens was placed in the Kmart parking lot.
The sale will be staffed on the weekends, to help customers load the trees into their vehicles or to tie them down.
During other times during the week, a drop box attached to a trailer by the trees will be available for customers to pay for their trees. The box is checked daily for donations.
“If they don’t feel comfortable dropping the money off there, they’re more than welcome to drop it off at the sheriff’s office or mail it to the sheriff’s office,” Swope said.
The association plans to sell approximately 200 trees, ranging in price from $25 to $40. The variety includes Scotch Pine, Blue Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, Fraser Fir, and Douglas Fir.
Despite a national decline in the supply of Christmas trees, the prices have remained the same.
“The objective is to try to keep them fairly priced so that people can buy them and know that their money is going for a good cause for the local kids to provide them with a better Christmas,” Swope said.
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.
Donations from individuals and businesses makes the Cops for Kids program possible, regardless of whether or not they purchase a tree.
“The tree sale does very well, but if it wasn’t for the generous donations that people in the community have given to us year after year, this likely wouldn’t be possible,” Swope said. “The donations really help us a lot.”
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.
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.
Swope said all groups involved enjoy taking part in an effort to give back to the community for their support.
“We definitely look forward to it. We are very, very gracious for the continued support for us whether they buy a tree or make donations,” Swope said. “We look forward to being able to providing local families with a better Christmas. It’s nice to be able to open our hearts and to spread the wealth.”