From Staff Reports

Starting in 2000, members of the Prosper Police Dept. have steadfastly raised funds for

their annual Cops with a Claus program, giving local families a little boost during the Christmas holiday season, says Police Officer Marty Nevil, the department’s public information officer.

"An important aspect of what we do is serve the community in any way possible, and the Cops with a Claus program addresses that head-on. Part of our duty as police officers is to try everything in our power to meet the needs in our community, applying our energy and resources to find solutions. That’s the basis for Cops with a Claus," she said.

Closing out year 13 in the program, the Cops with a Claus program provided assistance to 17 families identified as being in financial need by presenting them with monetary help in a manner that attempts to maintain their honor and dignity.

During this last Christmas season, the program awarded gift cards of $225 each. The cards are redeemable at any vendor that accepts credit cards.

"Part of the dignity piece is placing no restrictions on how the money is spent. We know of some families who used the cards for their basic necessities like food and shelter, and others who used it to bring some Christmas cheer to their children. Others purchased clothes. For us, how they spent the money is not as important as having the peace of mind that families will not be lacking during Christmas," she added.

The program’s successful 13-year run can be attributed to the generosity of Prosper residents. Police officers, dispatchers and their families finance the program by asking for donations at all levels. In fact, many of the fund-raising programs that are conducted by officers throughout the year contribute to the funds used for Cops with a Claus.

"We gather funds by putting on fund-raisers of various kinds and by soliciting financial donations from the more fortunate, and converting that money to gift cards," she said. "Then, right before Christmas, cards are presented to individuals and families who demonstrate a need."

Applications for the gift cards were distributed through the Prosper ISD and then a group of community volunteers selected the families that received the holiday grants.

"There is an undeniable spirit of giving in Prosper, and we see it every year. We are extremely grateful to live and work in this community, a community that cares for its own," she concluded.