Bus system aids Shop-With-Cop

December 3, 2018

BOURBONNAIS — River Valley Metro buses do not double as Santa’s sleigh, but the vehicles will help deliver toys to Kankakee County’s needy children.

How will Metro do this?

The public transportation system will donate all of its fares collected Tuesday to the annual Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department’s Shop-With-A- Cop program.

Rob Hoffmann, transit system director, said the collected fares should equal somewhere in the $700 range. With any luck, Hoffmann said, the system could contribute as much as $1,000.

He said people who don’t ride the bus can help by dropping off donations at the Metro Centre’s office, 1137 E. 5000N Road (St. George Road). Donations at the office can be made from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and Tuesday. Donations also can be made on any metro bus.

“On a normal day, we see ridership in the low 700s,” Hoffmann said. “Let’s hope Tuesday is not a normal day. I would love to bring them $1,000.”

Hoffmann said the system selects an organization or charity each year to assist at the holidays.

The Shop-With-A-Cop program is organized by Kankakee County Sheriff’s Police Detective Brady Bertrand. Started in 1991, the program now is in its 27th year.

Donations also can be mailed to the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department. Donors should note on the envelope “Shop-With-A-Cop.” The department’s address is 3000 S. Justice Way, Kankakee, IL 60901.

Bertrand said the program assists 50 to 75 needy children, typically between the ages of 6-13. The names of the children come through several sources, most notably schools or advocacy groups.

Most of the children are from economically disadvantaged homes, but others can be children who have struggled with an illness or a tragedy.

“This is something for the children to feel good about,” Bertrand said.

He said the program typically spends about $8,000. The money comes from police officers all across the county and many other generous people and businesses.

This year’s event will be held Dec. 16. It begins with a breakfast at the Bradley McDonald’s. Participants, with the help of a police officer, then shop at the Bradley Walmart.

While most people suspect the children would buy a toy or game for themselves, Bertrand said often times the young shopper seeks out gifts for a sibling. Sometimes in need of clothing, the children skip the toy aisle and purchases pants, socks, stocking hats or shirts.

The program also purchases a food basket for the participating families.

“I can say that without question, we get more out of this program than we put into it,” Bertrand said. “This really makes someone feel good.”

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