Cape Coral families are running out of time to nominate their school-aged children as a participant in the 10th annual Shop with a Cop program.
Sponsored by the Cape Coral Police Department's Do The Right Thing program, Shop with a Cop enables officers to spend some positive one-on-one time with Cape children whose families are having financial issues.
"It's just one of many ongoing community engagement programs that we do," Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the Cape police, said Thursday.
"Like the Fill the Boat and the Holiday Heroes Food Drive - just a lot of things that we do to give back to the community," he said.
Officers pick the children up at their homes on Dec. 21 and drive them to Walmart, where they are given a gift card to buy presents for their family.
"We always make sure they get a little something for themselves, too," Sizemore said.
After shopping, the officers and children head to the police department, where volunteers help the youths wrap the gifts and the students are treated to lunch. The children are then given a ride home, with their gifts in hand.
Officers see a wide range of reactions from the participants.
"The most common one is the kids are overjoyed," he said. "There's a reason that they're in the program. They're experiencing some difficulty."
Parents are always appreciate of the program.
"They're just grateful that somebody's looking out for them and giving them a little extra attention," Sizemore said. "That somebody cares."
To nominate a child, parents can pick up an application in the lobby of the Cape Coral Police Department at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.
About 40 children will be chosen to participate.
"It's still open," he said, referring to the available spots.
To qualify, children must:
* Be available to shop on Dec. 21.
* Be in kindergarten through 12th grade.
* Live in Cape Coral, as well as their family.
* Be eligible for "free lunch" at school.
Applications must be returned to the police department by the end of the business day Monday, along with the liability release and photo release.
Other sponsors include Walmart, Perkins and Chicago Pizza.
For more information, call the CCPD at (239) 574-3223.