- Associated Press - Saturday, November 30, 2019

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Rapid City police are raising money along with a radio station to buy Christmas gifts to homeless and at-risk children.

The Cops ‘N Kids program aims to raise $11,500 to give $100 each to 115 children and they’re halfway to their goal. Donations currently stand at $5,656. Power 107.1 KSLT is helping.

“We are confident that we will reach the goal, but we will need help from the community to make it happen,” Senior Officer Jason LaHaie said.

The Rapid City Journal reports the program is run by Black Hills Badges for Hope. The group was formed by two police officers who lost two fellow officers in a 2011 shooting in Rapid City.

Last year the Cops ‘N Kids program helped 34 children and the goal this year is to triple the number.

“Our mission is to reach out to people with hope,” said Jamie Knapp, the program director for the radio station. “A lot of kids here are homeless or at risk. They need a safe place sometimes.”

LaHaie said the program lets officers put their guard down and “be human for a little while” when they shop with children for gifts.

LaHaie said it’s humbling to shop with children who prefer to get things their family needs rather than toys for themselves. One child bought silverware for his grandmother, and some wanted to spend more money on their siblings.

“These kids aren’t spending 100 dollars on legos,” LaHaie said. “The money makes Christmas better for them, but it also helps meet needs.”


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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