▶️ COVID takes its toll on Shop With a Cop program, Red Kettle Campaign

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Traditional seasonal fundraisers are hitting some tough sledding during the pandemic.

Deschutes County’s “Shop With a Cop” program, and the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” campaign are undergoing change.

Normally, Deschutes County deputies and local police officers pick up designated children from school and take them shopping at Wal-Mart with purchases paid for by donations.

They share a meal at McDonald’s while volunteers wrap gifts, and then the officers take the children home to deliver presents to their families.

“This year, we sent a list of items to Walmart. They gathered all items for DCSO which picked them up earlier this week,” said Sgt. Jayson Janes, a spokesman with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. “Instead of volunteers and donors wrapping the gifts, staff and DSCO volunteers are doing the wrapping at the Deschutes County Work Center. Next week, officers will pick up and deliver the gifts to the families along with gift certificates to McDonald’s.”

About half the usual number of kids are participating in this year’s Shop With a Cop program, owing to the lack of in-person instruction in schools where the needs are identified. Contributions to this program have remained steady.

But after 15 days of bell ringing, the Salvation Army’s Red Kettles in Deschutes County have collected only half of their goal.

“We are noticing less people out and about with the pandemic,” said Michael Johnson with the Salvation Army. “We made a goal of $120,000 to continue to do our services, not just for Christmas but throughout the year. We are about halfway there with about 14 days left. We are just trying to get the word out that we need some help so that we don’t have limit programs or close our food pantry one day a week or anything like that.”

In addition to dropping spare change in the Red Kettles at local stores, people can make monetary donations at the Salvation Army headquarters at 515 DeKalb Avenue in Bend, or virtual donations at RedKettleBend.org

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