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Cops bag help for holidays

It’s a little unusual for your grocery bagger to be wearing a police badge. But the sight is common at Clanton area stores around Christmastime.

Members of the Chilton County Fraternal Order of Police collected “tips” for Operation: Santa Claus this Friday at Fred’s. The purpose of the charity is to buy Christmas gifts for underprivileged children.

In conjunction with the Iron Bowl, customers at Winn-Dixie and Hibbett Sports donated to their team of choice.

“We just appreciate any help that’s given,” said FOP member John Shearon, a Calera Police officer.

Shearon was with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department when the effort began nearly 10 years ago. He said the state of the economy is causing volunteers to work much harder to reach their annual goal of $10,000.

Bagging for tips is just one of several fundraisers.

Next Saturday, kids will get to have their picture made with Santa at the Clanton Fire Department on Sixth Street from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Pets are also welcome, and anyone can bring a toy or monetary donation for Operation: Santa Claus.

Churches, businesses and individuals may also adopt a family for Christmas.

“I’m hoping people are going to continue to do it,” Shearon said. “It’s always a big help.”

For more information or to donate, contact Shearon at 755-6261.