ELKO — The 16th annual Shop With a Cop raised $16,500 in an auction at its media fundraiser Wednesday at the Northeastern Nevada Museum.
Fifty items donated by area businesses were auctioned in 10-item packages every hour, according to organizer Rocky Gonzalez. The high-end item was a three-day, two-night vacation package, which raised $350 for the program.
The 15 committee members, law enforcement officers, local fire fighters and emergency personnel all chipped in to answer phones and take bids during the phone-in event from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Gonzalez said this year’s Shop With a Cop has 100 children who will get to spend $200 each at Kmart on a shopping spree that starts at 9 a.m. Dec. 12. Beforehand, the children will be treated to a Kiwanis pancake breakfast at Flag View Intermediate School. Afterward, the children get to ride in emergency vehicles and parade west on Idaho Street and north on Mountain City Highway up to Kmart.
Participants are from Elko and Spring Creek, as well as outlying areas such as Wells, West Wendover, Jackpot, Owyhee, Austin, Battle Mountain and Eureka. Ely is not participating this year.
Gonzalez said children who were not selected for this program have been referred to similar programs in the area.
Trooper Jim Stewart of the Nevada Highway Patrol said people unable to participate in the auction may donate to the fund by going to any Nevada State Bank branch in the area. They may also send checks to Shop With a Cop, Inc., P.O. Box 522 Elko, NV 89803.
The POW/MIA Awareness Association hand-delivered a check for $600 to Gonzalez during the fundraiser. Professional fire fighters and Lee Engine Company volunteers raised more than $800 with their “stuff the helmet” event on Idaho Street.
Stewart said while many children spend the money on toys, some get winter coats and others have been known to use it to buy household items such as food and even toilet paper.
“(The children) sometimes get gifts for their brother, sister and parents, but not for themselves,” Stewart said. “They often think of other people before themselves. It’s really a special day.”