Felesia Walker, 11, and her mother Shanun Walker, of Center Township, shop for back-to-school clothes during the Cops and Kids event sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 165. | Jim Karczewski~For Sun-Times Media
Cops and Kids program earns an ‘A’
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:35AM
Shanun Walker quit working to care for her son, who is disabled.
But with seven school-age children between the ages of 7 and 17 — one daughter is in college — Walker is grateful for the assistance she received for back-to-school clothes and supplies through Cops and Kids, offered by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 165.
“It’s hard to get a job because I need to be home with (her son), because when the nurse isn’t there, I need to be on duty,” said Walker, whose children attend the Valparaiso schools.
She urged her children into the clothing department at the Valparaiso Wal-Mart on Aug. 18, encouraging them to select what they needed.
Past years have been more difficult at school time, Walker said.
“You have to ration — a lot of rationing and budgeting,” she said.
Through Cops and Kids, Walker received $100 vouchers at the retailer for each of her school-age children. In all,
about 110 children received vouchers though the program, which was coordinated through Porter County’s 12 township trustee offices, said Porter County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Gary Gear, president of the lodge.
The lodge, which does phone soliciting to get donations for Cops and Kids, has been offering the program for almost 30 years, Gear said.
Debbi Mears, who has two sons at Valparaiso High School, said the program is “very much appreciated.”
Mears had a shopping cart of school supplies and what she called “the basics,” socks and underwear.
Mears, who works at a local retailer and has an older daughter in college, found out about Cops and Kids when she went to the Center Township Trustee’s Office for assistance with her utility bill.
“We didn’t even know about this,” she said.
The economy is bad, Mears said, making things tough.
“When you’re struggling to make ends meet, it helps a lot because school supplies are not cheap,” she said.