Hiram – It may seem early to be thinking about the Christmas season, but a good cause requires extra time and commitment. That’s why the Hiram Police Department and the Village of Garrettsville are teaming up with a Shop With A Cop Car Show on Saturday, September 6, 9am-2pm.
The car show will be held on Hayden Street, which will be cordoned off for the event from the Hiram Post Office at State Route 82, all the way up through the Hiram College campus, to Hinsdale. The free event will feature antique and classic cars and trucks lined up along the street, door prizes of merchandise from local sponsors, a 50/50 raffle, trophies, a deejay, music, food trucks, Maggie’s Donuts and family fun. No pre-registration is required to show your car. Just show up that morning to be included, says Hiram Police Chief Ed Samec.
The Hiram-Garrettsville Shop with a Cop program benefits underpriviledged children and families in the Crestwood and James A. Garfield school districts, giving children the opportunity to go Christmas shopping for themselves and their families alongside local police officers and volunteers.
Chief Samec says that counselors and administrators from the school districts will select six students from each district whose families are experiencing severe financial hardship. Each of these students will be given a $250 budget for Christmas gifts for their parents, siblings and themselves.
“These kids go onto the Christmas season knowing they won’t have any gifts,” Samec explains. “But when they learn they’ve been selected for this program, you should see the looks on their faces, see the hugs they give to the volunteers who help them shop for gifts. They have nothing. They are so excited to buy gifts for their family members, they forget to pick anything out for themselves. That’s the furthest thing from their minds.”
The goal is for every child to enjoy the holiday season. So fundraising events are coordinated by Chief Samec and Garrettsville Mayor Rick Patrick throughout the year to bolster the Shop with a Cop fund so more underprivileged children can receive gifts this coming holiday season. Local sponsors pitch in with donations of cash and merchandise.
In May, a pancake breakfast featuring a special visit from the Easter Bunny generated nearly $800 toward the fund. Chief Samec has also applied for grant money to bolster the fund. For three consecutive years, this program has benefitted from a Hiram Trust Grant valued at $2,000.
Mayor Patrick, whose name is synonymous with car shows & cruises, says, “Our police departments work hand-in-hand so the Shop With a Cop program can help out more families in the area. Children come to us with a wish list, and we take them to the Streetsboro Kmart to fulfill their wishes as best we can.”
2014 marks the third year for the Garrettsville-Hiram Shop With a Cop program. It’s the second year for the car show, but it was such a great success last year — raising $865 — it’s expected to be an annual event. Each year, the program grows to help more families. In 2012, eight families benefitted; in 2013, 10 families were included; in 2014, 12 families will be helped. But Chief Samec says there is still a long line of deserving families he’d love to be able to assist.
“The way the economy has been, I don’t see unemployment numbers improving much. Statistics seem to say that unemployment numbers are improving, but it’s actually just that people have run out of unemployment benefits and they no longer qualify. But jobs are still hard to find and people are still having a hard time.”
So come on out to the Shop with a Cop Car Show in Hiram on Saturday. It’s more than fun and games. It’s a meaningful way to create happier holidays for neighbors in need.