'Shop with a Cop' brings smiles to youth
By Kevin Buey
DEMING, N.M. — Holiday shopping topped the morning Saturday in the 13th annual Shop With a Cop program at Deming's Big Kmart.
Youngsters, selected by their respective schools and chaperoned by law enforcement and other emergency service workers, walked the aisles, buying toys, sporting goods, electronics, clothes and food.
Local businesses and private donations to the program totaled nearly $12,000, and 332 of the expected 350 children waited patiently for a $25 shopping card with which to shop.
Santa Claus, arriving in a Deming Fire Department truck, greeted children in the Kmart parking lot just after 8 a.m.
Men, women, boys and girls from the Luna County Sheriff's Office, its Reserve Unit, Deming Police, New Mexico State Police, U.S. Border Patrol and USBP Explorers, Luna County Detention Center and from Deming, Florida Mountain, Sunshine, Cooke's Peak and Tyronne fire departments shopped with the children. Kmart and Deming Schools' schools employees registered each child in line.
Cody Lucero, 9, and Casey Pivett, 8, each of Bataan Elementary School, went for Bionicles modern-day building blocks among their purchases.
Genesis Gutierrez, 9, from Memorial Elementary School, got a toy sewing machine and bracelets. Jasmine Murillo, 8, also of Memorial, found a "Hannah Montana" DVD.
"Fun," Murillo said of the selection, "because I like this one."
Bell School students Robert Regalado, 6, and Jesus Garcia, 6, waiting to pay for purchases, showed each other their toys. Regalado had a Thunderbolt. Garcia displayed a Transformer package.
Christian Pierro, of Chaparral School, found a soccer ball, and Sergio Denogean, 8, of Bell School, was looking at an iDog, a battery-powered, robotic and music-loving toy.
"This went very well," said Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Gallegos. "Very good success. I've done this five years. I enjoy the smiles on the kids' faces when they get what they want."
Tony Nelson, the station chief at Tyronne Volunteer Fire Department, and Tyronne Lt. Mariana Barela were first-time participants.
"It was good," said Nelson. "The first little girl I was with had an armload for her mother, her father and her brothers."
The program committee meets Tuesday to see how much money is left in its bank and decide how to spend it, Sheriff's Lt. Allen Carter said. In past years, the extra money has bought presents for youngsters at Rainbow Head Start, Deming Head Start and My Little School, and either coupons for food baskets or turkeys and hams have been distributed to needy families.
Copyright 2008 Deming Headlight