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Anderson Police Department officer Taylor Cole scans the shelves for the item on his shopping list as he shops for a child for last year's Cops & Kids campaign at Meijer.

ANDERSON – A tradition that has been taking place for decades will be returning to a familiar format this holiday season.

The Anderson Fraternal Order of Police has begun the process of accepting donations for the annual Cops & Kids Program.

Coordinator Kenny Davenport said last year during the pandemic the children provided lists to the officers that did the shopping and the items were picked up.

“We’re excited this year because the officers will actually be shopping with the kids,” he said.

Davenport said last year the program raised a record $32,000 that brought smiling faces to 100 local children.

“That amount was the most ever,” he said. “Our goal was to raise $25,000.”

As of Wednesday a total of $20,000 has been donated for the program, he said.

“I sent out a letter several months ago to our contributors and a second reminder was mailed this week,” Davenport said.

Contributors to the Cops & Kids program include Meijer, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Old National Bank, Precision Strip and the city of Anderson.

Davenport said employees at Precision Strip can have donations deducted from their paychecks.

The Indiana Department of Child Services selects the children that will participate in the Cops & Kids program and sets up the schedule for the shopping.

The Anderson Police Department for many years have participated in “No Shave November” with donations going to the program.

“That raises a significant amount of money,” Davenport said. “We hope to provide Christmas for at least 100 children again this year.”

Last year each child was allocated $150 to spend and the amount this year will depend on the amount of the donations and the number of children being served.

“Last year a lot of people scaled back because of the pandemic and that probably helped our donations,” Davenport said. “We’re hoping to get a boost over the next few weeks in the amount of donations.”

He noted that this year the price of consumer goods has increased.

Donations can be made by dropping off checks at the Anderson Police Department or mailing to Anderson FOP #48, P.O. Box, 948, Anderson, IN 46015.

Online donations can be made at FOP48.com

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.