Shop With a Cop programs, which pair police officers with underprivileged children for holiday shopping excursions, faced a grim Christmas in 2020. During the pandemic, such programs felt the belt-tightening of many donors who had slashed their benevolence budgets. However, in Alamance County, N.C., First Source Equipment Rentals stepped forward to help.
“At Christmas, we always donate to a cause,” says John Scott, owner, First Source Equipment Rentals, Burlington, N.C. “This past year, no one in our area was helping to fund Shop With a Cop.”
Scott says the decision to support Shop With a Cop was an easy one, given that two of his employees had family connections with the local police force and “with everything going on with police departments across the country, we felt they probably needed a refresher. We support our police department — and police everywhere — fully. That is a big thing with us.”
First Source Equipment Rentals’ partnership with a local radio station made the fundraising effort an easy process for the busy rental company.
“A local radio station had done something a year or so ago with Shop With a Cop. We called them and asked, ‘How can we be part of it?’ So, that’s what really kicked it off. The radio station did all the heavy advertising and handled the money,” Scott says.
Scott quickly found himself on the air with the local sheriff promoting First Source Equipment Rentals’ pledge to match donations to Shop With a Cop up to $3,000.
“We also posted it on our Facebook page and at both of our stores, but mainly it was getting on the radio to talk about how it was going to be a harder Christmas than normal for many families and encouraging people to donate,” Scott says.
In the end, the fundraising effort generated more than $15,000 for the Alamance County Shop With a Cop program.
First Source Equipment Rentals’ involvement with Shop With a Cop had the added benefit of securing a much-needed new hire in an environment where help has been hard to come by.
“After the campaign, we hired a new bookkeeper. Because people have options right now, applicants are interviewing us about jobs as much as we are them. One of the questions this person had for us was, ‘Do you do any type of giving back to the community or volunteer work?’ Part of the reason she took the job was because we had done Shop With a Cop. That was kind of neat. It got us a new hire because we did a program like that. People are wanting to be with companies where they can do more than just go to work,” Scott says.
The 2020 Shop With a Cop project was such a success, Scott anticipates repeating the activity again in 2021.