NEW CUMBERLAND - Parents wanting to have their children "shop with a cop" this Christmas have one more opportunity to participate in the 2012 program.
Interviews with qualifying families will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday in the jury room of courtroom No. 1 at the Hancock County Courthouse.
The Shop with a Cop program, sponsored by the Hancock County Deputy Sheriff's Association, gives monetary assistance to families so their children can get toys and clothes for Christmas.
"We have not had to turn away anyone who was approved for three or four years now," said Tom Tompos, a former Hancock County sheriff's sergeant and co-chair, with Deputy Pat Hoder, of this year's Shop with a Cop campaign.
In its 24th year, the "Shop with a Cop" program has helped more than 4,000 children from Hancock County, Tompos said.
This year's shopping day starts at 9 a.m. Dec. 16, a Sunday, at the Weirton Kmart. Sheriff's deputies shop with the families, help them at the checkout and bag the presents, Tompos said.
"We're the bag boys for the day," he said.
Applications for the program can be obtained at the Chester and New Cumberland Sparkle markets, the Weirton Kmart and the Penn-Way Pharmacy in Weirton.
Custodial parents should bring a completed application with them to the interview. They should also bring the children's birth certificates, report cards if the children are school age and two utility bills proving residence in Hancock County.
Qualifying families will then receive a voucher in the mail, which they must bring with them on the shopping day. The average assistance, depending on the age of the child, is $50 to $60, Tompos said.
The number of children under 18 helped each year ranges from 100 to 150, he said.
To send a donation, make the check out to: Shop with a Cop, P.O. Box 2206, Weirton, WV 26062.