Last year when Black Hills Badges for Hope took over a program that helped needy children have a better Christmas, "Cops 'n Kids" raised about $3,500 and helped 34 children. This year, that number will be about 115 children.
Badges for Hope partnered with Christian music station Power 107.1 KSLT this year to support the program. Not only did the two reach their goal, they surpassed it.
"Even after we reached the goal, people kept giving," said KSLT Program Director Jamie Knapp. "The meter on the website just keeps going up." More than $12,275 was raised.
The program begins Friday night at the Walmart location on Stumer Road. Police officers will help children shop for their families and themselves and more volunteers will help wrap the presents. Knapp said the radio station has added an extra wrinkle this year after working with some of their advertisers.
"Some of the officers will be able to win prizes from local businesses during the event," Knapp said. "We wanted to make sure they were taken care of too."
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The second part of the event will be hosted at Target Saturday evening as more than 100 kids from Rapid City will be part of the program. In about a week, 15 more children in Spearfish will get to do the same thing.
"We are so excited about how the event has grown and how much these donations will help kids in our community," Knapp said.
Black Hills Badges for Hope’s primary mission is to improve the overall well-being of the community by fostering positive connections built on trust, integrity and compassion between first responders and members of the community, particularly youth. The Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff's office will join with Badges for Hope and KSLT Friday and Saturday night.