ANDERSON — For decades the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge has been raising money to make the Christmas holiday a little brighter for children in the community.

It’s that time of year again, and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has started their annual fundraising effort for the annual “Cops and Kids” program.

FOP president Mike Lee said the goal this year is to raise $18,000 to provide Christmas gifts for more than 120 children.

“We had a pretty good effort last year,” Lee said of the donations that provided gifts for 135 children. “We’re hoping to duplicate that effort.”

Once again Meijer is partnering with the FOP in the program, which has been supported in the past by Precision Strip and the Ed Martin Auto Group.

“All the money raised goes straight to the kids,” Lee said of the day of shopping.

Each child is escorted through the Meijer store by a member of the FOP.

Lee said the goal is to make the holiday season a little brighter for the children in the community that have the most needs.

In many instances over the years, the children are looking to buy gifts for their parents and siblings as well as for themselves.

“Positive relationships between police and children are formed,” he said. “Far too often, officers are called to incidents of family violence and child abuse. They also witness firsthand the poverty impacting families in our community.”

As in past years, members of the Anderson Police Department will be participating in “no shave” November. Officers can donate to Cops and Kids for the right not to shave for the month.

Last year, the effort raised $1,000.

Donations can be made at the front desk of the Anderson Police Department 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Checks should be made out to “Cops and Kids.”

Anyone with questions about the program or wanting to make a donation can reach Lee at Indianafop48@gmail.com.

Lee said contributions will be accepted up until Dec. 17.

The FOP comprises 200 members representing the Madison County Sheriff’s deputies and police officers from Anderson, Pendleton, Lapel, Edgewood, Anderson University, Chesterfield and Ingalls.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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