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Cocoa with a Cop for a cause

Cumberland Girl Scouts, local law enforcement and charitable residents with a sweet tooth all gathered at the Cumberland Sheriff’s Department on Friday, Nov. 1, in the name of “Cocoa with a Cop,” a unique event focused on bringing community members together in order to gather toys and donations for the Cumberland Christmas Mother program.

Attending residents were able to meet and greet the county’s law enforcement, donate a toy, and get a free cup of hot chocolate.

Girl Scouts Troop Leader Jennifer Turner organized the event.

Attendees of the Cocoa
with a Cop event were
greeted with this tempting
sign.

“It was so much fun watching the girls bond and enjoy their time together as they raised money and gathered toy donations for the Christmas Mother program,” said Turner. “Thanks to our Sheriff, Darrell Hodges, and the Program Coordinator, Reverend Barry Vassar, we were provided the space and go-ahead to make this a successful community service project!”

Turner stated that community service is an important quality that troop leaders aim to instill in their scouts. “I have been blessed with truly amazing young women who care so much about their peers and their town,” she added. “They have put countless hours into planning this event, and to see it all come together for them was very gratifying to all of the adults involved in leading them through the project.”

According to Turner, the Girl Scouts invited Cumberland County title-holders from the Miss Five County Fair pageant to participate in the event with them, making Cocoa with a Cop a collaboration of young female peer leaders.

The event additionally served as an opportunity for local children and their families to interact with Cumberland County law enforcement officers. According to Turner, Cumberland County Sheriff Darrell Hodges took the kids on personal tours of the police station and let them sit in his car with the lights on, complete with a “Junior Sheriff” badge for the children to enjoy.

K-9 Officer Ryan Bates also brought dog “Mambo” out to the community meet and greet, where the girls got to interact with one of the county’s four-legged heroes. Deputy Tim Doss helped the Girl Scouts to gather their donations and get them to a secure location for the Christmas Mother program coordinator to pick up. s

“We had a great time,” said Hodges in response to the event. “We had a lot of excited little young ladies who we always love working with. We had a decent turnout, got quite a few toys for the Cumberland Christmas Mother, and everything went off wonderfully.”

Hodges added that he himself couldn’t pass up an opportunity for free hot cocoa.

“I love working with young people,” Hodges stated. “I love them to be able to see us as officers in a positive light, not just a person writing mom or dad a ticket on the side of the road … but just to get that one-on-one time with being able to talk and carry on. I really enjoy that.”

“This was our first year,” Turner stated in reference to her troop’s event, “but I hope it will be the first of many! I am so grateful for my fellow Girl Scout Leaders, Christal Parker and Leslie Ramsey, for their support and hard work in bringing this project to fruition. Working together within our community to make the world a better place is what being a Girl Scout is all about. We are incredibly appreciative all of the Cumberland residents who came by to help make the holiday season brighter for our county’s children.”