Brightens Holidays for Children in Ferguson, Mo. & St. Francois County
Two area law enforcement holiday giving programs overcame extraordinary challenges created by the 2020 pandemic to brighten the holidays for children. The annual “Shop with a Cop” programs in Ferguson, Mo. and St. Francois County, Mo. were held on Dec. 17, 2020. The Electrical Connection again provided major support for both law enforcement community trust building programs. The labor-management partnership contributed $5,000 each to the St. Francois County “Shop with a Cop” and Ferguson “Shop with a Cop.” The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). This year’s donation raises the Electrical Connection’s 27-year commitment to “Shop with a Cop” to more than $95,000.
In Ferguson, police were unable to use the Ferguson Community Center to give children gifts purchased with donations because of Covid-19 restrictions. Instead, it purchased gifts with donations and personally delivered them to families at the police station. Arrivals were staggered to accommodate pandemic protocols. More than 30 children received gifts.
Meanwhile, the St. Francois County “Shop with a Cop” program adapted its event by staggering the arrival of children to help with social distancing. A total of 14 busses delivered children at intervals to the Wal-Mart in Farmington, Mo. where they were met by Santa and led to a special staging area. Some children arrived cars with their parents and were also greeted by Santa. Law enforcement then took the children shopping for holiday gifts they would not otherwise receive. More than 400 children were served in the St. Francois County “Shop with a Cop.”
“There hasn’t been a lot of good cheer during the pandemic, so it was important for the Electrical Connection to continue supporting the programs,” noted Danny Miller, COO of Total Electric, a NECA contractor based in Farmington. Miller initially engaged the Electrical Connection in supporting the St. Francois County program in 1993. The Electrical Connection’s support ultimate grew to include the Ferguson program.
The Electrical Connection partnered with Saint Louis FC to support both “Shop with a Cop” events. During the summer, it teamed on a fundraiser at a Saint Louis FC game to raise money for both programs. “Even that was challenging given the pandemic which ultimately force Saint Louis FC to shut down at the end of the season,” noted Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection. “The Electrical Connection leadership and that of Saint Louis FC both recognized the importance of “Shop with a Cop” for community engagement and trust building.”
The Electrical Connection is led by IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs and St. Louis NECA Chapter Executive Vice President Doug Martin. The labor-management partnership represents more than 150 IBEW-signatory electrical contractors and more than 5,000 highly skilled IBEW electricians and communication technicians. Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. For more information visit www.electricalconnection.org.