By AMY GAREIS

News-Herald Staff Writer

CADIZ – The deadline is drawing near for applicants to participate in the 23rd Annual Shop With A Cop program.

This year’s event is set for Dec. 14 at the Steubenville Wal-Mart and combines cops and kids for a night of Christmas shopping. Courtney Walker, a liaison for the Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services, said about 32 children were signed up thus far.

“We are accepting applications and the deadline is Nov. 4,” Walker said, adding she would then submit the paperwork to the Upper Ohio Valley Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 97, which sponsors the program.

The upcoming activity begins around 6 p.m. at the store and unites children ages 3-12 with police officers and sheriff’s deputies from Harrison, Jefferson and Carroll counties. The law enforcement officers escort families throughout the store to select clothing, non-violent toys and a ham or turkey for Christmas dinner. The purchases are made using stipends financed through campaign contributions, while the officers calculate expenditures to ensure the cost falls within the limit. To be eligible, clients must not have participated in the 2009 campaign or obtained similar assistance from other area organizations, while there are no income guidelines.

The event also involves social service agencies, such as the Harrison DJFS, and Walker said other organizations could refer potential participants, as well.

“I can either send the organization an application or send it to the parent,” she said.

Last year, about 171 children from 99 families took part in the three-hour store excursion, which was an increase over 2008’s total of 150. It comprised about 39 families with 71 children from Harrison.

For more information, contact Walker at 740-942-3015, ext. 325.