August 15, 2017 - The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time for students of all ages, but when a child is hospitalized, the accompanying emotional and financial stress can be an overwhelming burden for many families. This month, in partnership with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, the University of Michigan Police Department (UMPD) aimed to lighten the load with its "Shop with a Cop-Back to School" program.
"The purpose of the program is to provide children, who are current or former patients at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, with necessary school supplies for the upcoming school year, but also to make it a very special day by taking them on a shopping spree with law enforcement officers and providing other fun activities," commented UMPD Chief Robert Neumann. "This event illustrates the wonderful generosity that exists among those in our broader community."
UMPD Officer Matt Butzky, who helped coordinate the event, said that because the WCSO already coordinates two Shop with a Cop programs around the holidays, they were a natural fit to partner with UMPD for a similar event at the University of Michigan. "Hosting the program at U-M really lent itself to a "back to school" theme," Butzy remarked. "This allows us to offer assistance at another time of year when there is great need."
In early August, patients and their siblings were partnered with a police officer or sheriff's deputy and taken by bus to a local Meijer store to shop for school supplies. After lunch, the group returned to the hospital for a magic show, face painting, canvas painting, building a stuffed animal and special visits by the U-M Storm Trooper, Wonder Woman and K-9 units from WCSO and UMPD. For patients who were unable to travel, a "store" stocked with racks of back-to-school supplies was made available for shopping right in the hospital."
"To see how this experience brightened the day of our patients, their families and our law enforcement officers was truly uplifting," said Chief Neumann. "I could not be more proud of all involved in putting this event together."
Butzky added, "We're thankful for those from WCSO, UMPD, Michigan Medicine Security, U-M Housing Security and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital who volunteered their time to be a part of such a great event. We're also thankful for the many groups and individuals who donated their time, resources and money to such a great cause."