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Bonney Lake’s ‘Shop With A Cop’ Program Forced to Drop Fundraising Event, Needs Community Support More than Ever

Bonney Lake’s ‘Shop with a Cop’ connects local officers to children in need during the holidays. The program needs community support more than ever, after Target’s corporate offices canceled the program’s annual fundraising event.

By all accounts, this year’s Shop With A Cop event in Bonney Lake should be bigger than ever before. Last year, 22 kids in need—almost double from prior years—shopped for brand new Christmas presents with a Bonney Lake police officer and community volunteers. This was mostly due to community donations received from a special fundraising event hosted by Target.

But this year, after already arranging with Mountain View Middle, Emerald Hills Elementary and Bonney Lake Elementary to choose a new batch of kids for the charity program, Bonney Lake officer Todd Green received heartbreaking news—Target’s corporate offices wont allow the Shop with A Cop fundraiser to happen this year, due to corporate protocol about fundraising events inside its stores.

This year, Green and his buddy, McGruff the Crime Dog, aren't allowed to set up a table inside the store, pass out flyers and collect donations to help pay for Target gift cards, as they have in years past.

Bonney Lake’s Target will still host the annual event on Dec. 8 and officers will still be able to walk around the store with special kids in need. But, the number of kids who get to participate depends on community fundraising.

Last year’s fundraising event brought in $2,000 from the community to help give those 22 local children a better Christmas. Many of the kids who participated last year chose to spend their money on parents and siblings, or elected to purchase necessities, like warm clothes and jackets.

“Every dollar we make goes to the kids, then right back into Target’s pocket,” said Green.

Target has donated $250 to the event and the local police guild has already donated $500, Green said. But in order for the event to be a success—and for all the children who were nominated to still be able to participate—community donations are critical.

Target could not be reached for comment at time of publication.

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If you want to donate to the Shop with a Cop program, please consider purchasing a Target gift card next time you’re in the store and drop it off at the Bonney Lake Police Department during business hours. Cash donations are also accepted. You can also mail donations to the Bonney Lake Police Department at 18421 Veterans Memorial Drive E, Bonney Lake, WA 98391.

Lauren Padgett (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 12:42 AM
I try and leave my opinion out of it when it comes to controversial local issues... but this one angers me. As much as I like Target, I'm taking my Christmas shopping elsewhere this year. Their response to helping local kids in need (who want to spend money AT TARGET) is disappointing.
Leo23 November 15, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Agree Lauren, there are other stores out there that will be more then happy to take your money. I doubt Officer Green and McGruff the Crime Dog are harassing customers as they enter the store. People are more likely to give when someone is right there to collect the donation. I always give to the Salvation Army when the bell ringers are out because they are there to take my donation. I already know the answer to this rhetorical question but who is Target going to call when they have shoplifters? If you would like to contact the Target Corporate office to ask them about their policy you can reach them at 612-304-6073.
Kathleen November 15, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Thanks for the phone number Leo...and perhaps Lauren can find out the direct contact name at Target that the police department was in contact with. I would not only like to express my displeasure to Target but I would like to share this story with others in King and Pierce County.
Cortnie Goodin November 15, 2012 at 04:56 AM
I know Walmart allows Shop with a Cop. Maybe they should try that instead. I'm really disappointed in Target.
Lauren Padgett (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Todd told me that his contact at the BL Target had to give them the news from above that it was against corporate policy to host the fundraiser and the store had been out of line for allowing it in previous years. I think it's important to reiterate this is corporate policy and not up to the BL store manager and crew. I tried to call Target corporate today and didn't get a response so I'm going to try again tomorrow. Will keep you posted. I read that the East Pierce Firefighters are trying to 'Get Jesse' on it :) Maybe enough pressure will make Target rethink their decision...
Tracy November 15, 2012 at 05:51 AM
As far as I know the Tacoma Target is still doing Shop with a Cop. I wonder why one is still doing it and BL pulled? No Target shopping for me anymore. This is so very wrong!
Kathleen November 15, 2012 at 06:53 AM
Thanks Lauren for your help! We can't let the kids be affected by this poor corporate decision. I will watch for your future posts.
Carla Ritchie November 15, 2012 at 06:56 AM
I just posted this link and a comment on the Target FB page
Lauren Padgett (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 05:02 PM
BL's Shop with a Cop is still happening, Tracy. They even donated $250 to the cause. It's just that they won't allow any fundraisers inside the store before the event to raise money. Money must be raised to pay for the gift cards that are given to the kids at the event, so they can buy whatever they want.
Val S November 15, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I would like to see it done at a different store. I'm sure Fred Meyer's would be happy to help local kids.
Jennifer November 15, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Can't they stand outside and ask for Donations rather than inside with a booth? That sounds like that is where the problem is. It could be an insurance related problem about fund-raising in the store and someone realized what they were doing and checked to see if that would be a covered "Event" and found out it's not.. I wouldn't be too harsh on Target but try to maybe understand if there is some other way that they could work it and still do it.
Joanne November 15, 2012 at 07:30 PM
This infuriates me to no end - another stuffed suit corporation that is too good for the kids in need. I also am disgusted by the fact that they won't allow it, but do want the money to go to into their bottom line pockets. The CEO, Gregg W. Steinhafel has a total calculated compensation of $19,707,107. His phone number is Phone: 612-304-6073 Fax: 612-761-5555 I think we should reach out to Fred Meyer and have them do it this year - I believe they are a friendly corporation. Just my 2 cents.
Steve November 15, 2012 at 09:14 PM
http://www.cnycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=824812 While the story itself is off-topic, there's a specific section that I feel should be mentioned. "This year, Target is opening its doors to kick off the holiday shopping season at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, which is three hours earlier than the store opened last year. This decision comes after a petition was signed by more than 100,000 Target employees last year asking Target not to open at midnight on Thanksgiving but to open its stores at 5am on Friday instead, in order to allow workers to spend more time with their families."
T_Kay November 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM
As part of the HR team for a small company, I understand there are policies that need to be enforced. It sounds like Target has a 'no solicitation policy' in place, and it's being followed. It's unfortunate that the children suffer the loss from this, but I can see why they must enforce the policies in place, not pick and choose what is convenient and inconvient for them. I think we, as a community, need to come together and open up our checkbooks to make sure these kids still get to shop with a cop- my family will happily make a donation. I am glad to see that Target donated $250 to the cause!
Kathleen November 16, 2012 at 01:43 AM
T-Kay....It's not a good policy for Target...you can have "no solicitation except for Target authorized charity-based groups". Lawyers would say that wording works fine and allows Target to allow charitible efforts. They can "pick and choose" with the right policy verbage, as they are a for profit company. Target lost big time free PR...Cops standing at the front door of Target...the same Target who has had shootings and robberies...is a good deterent in the holiday season. Then, Photos such as the one here with Cops in Target are good FREE PR as it encourages shoppers to feel Target is a safe and warm/fuzzy place to shop (Aww, look at those cute happy kids in the photo). Another big PR boost is that it images Target as one of the community, rather than the big bad corporate greedy guys. All around, support of this effort is a win for TARGET and the needy kids...Some dufus law clerk in corporate wanted to show how smart he/she was and came up with this...bad idea. My daughter does imaging for political campaigners...do you KNOW how much it costs to PAY for this kind of positive PR?
T_Kay November 16, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Kathleen, I never said it was a good policy, but I get it. So when Target doesn't authorize solicitation for one group, and they go public saying how this large corporation doesn't support their cause, then what? I can see both sides. Like I said before, it's sad the children suffer from this, but we, as a community, need to support the cause so they still get to shop with a cop.
K_G November 16, 2012 at 07:09 AM
T_Kay, I agree we need to come together as a community and support the shop a cop so the children still get their needs met. I am 100% ready to donate as soon as the event is moved to a different store. I do not agree with the Target policy, and to roll-over and say "shame on you Target now here's $100 for gift cards so you can profit from this event is NOT sending the right message to Target's corporate level. If they choose to stand on this policy then they can do it without my money. As soon as the event is moved to another store, I will be first in line to donate to the cause!
Kathleen November 16, 2012 at 08:57 PM
This is my response to Target when they contcted me to say they will not change their policy as they do not want their "guests" to be distracted in their stores: "Thank you for your response Mike. I am taking your response in its' entirety and sending it to the few thousand households I have in my work data base. I and my family will not shop at Target. Your grant to Shop with a Cop is $250...wow..I mean wow as understated. I will not buy a Target gift card for donation to the Shop with a Cop program and I will encourage the police department to "partner" with more deserving corporations than Target. I have disposable income which will not be spent in Target. I have now evaluated my partnership with Target and must inform you it has ended. I will encourage others to do the same"
Lauren Padgett (Editor) November 16, 2012 at 09:54 PM
One of our readers emailed Target's corporate offices and got a response. He has shared it with us.. here it is: "Target partners year-round with local law enforcement across the country, including the Bonney Lake Police Department. Working with the Bonney Lake Police Department, we annually evaluate how we can partner to make a positive impact in the community. As a part of that, since 2007, Target has supported the Bonney Lake Shop with a Cop program with a grant to help kids in need buy holiday gifts for their families. We remain committed to the Shop with a Cop program and are partnering closely with the local police department to make this year’s event a success. Target is focused on creating a great shopping experience for our guests, which includes providing them with a distraction-free shopping environment. Therefore, we prohibit solicitation or petitioning at our stores regardless of the cause or issue being represented. We continue to educate our stores across the country to ensure they have a thorough understanding of Target’s policies. Target donates 5 percent of our profits to communities—more than $4 million per week—and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours each year to non-profit organizations across the country and continuously evaluate our partnerships to ensure they are supporting the community." Sincerely, Benjamin Target Executive Offices
Jim Davey November 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I am a retired English Traffic Cop who spent a morning with BLPD in Sept 2011 so I am posting a donation to this very worthy cause

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