While the back-to-school season is often an exciting time for children, it can become an overwhelming financial burden for families who have medical expenses to worry about. The University of Michigan Police Department (UMPD) and Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office (WSCO) partnered to ease that burden and give children at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital a back-to-school shopping spree for the second year in a row.
On Saturday, August 4, patients and their families enjoyed a day of shopping, lunch, crafts, face painting and more with their local police officers. In preparation for the 2018-19 school year, the children and their families were bussed to Meijer where they were able to pick out school supplies and other materials. Patients who were unable to leave the hospital were presented with a backpack filled with school supplies.
The event, known as “Shop with a Cop – Back-to-School,” began in 2017 with a collaboration between UMPD Officer Matt Butzky and WCSO Lt. Keith Flores.
“We both wanted to bring a Shop with a Cop event to campus,” said Butzky. “The WCSO has a long tradition of holding Shop with a Cop events leading up to the Christmas holiday. We wanted something different for the University community and a ‘Back-to-School’ event seemed like an appropriate theme, in line with the mission of the University.”
The event could not have happened without the generous support of the community. “Our partnerships with C.S. Mott Community Relations, Michigan Medicine Social Work, Michigan Athletics, U-M Logistics, Transportation, and Parking, the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and W4 Country are critical to the success of the event,” said UMPD Chief of Police, Robert Neumann. “We are also grateful for the financial support from the generous donors and community members who want to make a difference in these children’s lives.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of my peers, within both DPSS and WCSO, who adjusted their schedules and volunteered their time and energy to make a difference in the lives of these families,” said Butzky. “I certainly wouldn’t say I’m surprised, though, as the vast majority of us got into this profession to help people and make a difference in our community.”
The organization accepts donations year-round and will soon begin preparing for the Shop with a Cop holiday event. If you are interested in contributing, please visit the WCSO Shop with a Cop Facebook page and click “Shop Now.”