Shop with a cop: Car show to benefit annual fundraiser for Petal Police Dept.

By HASKEL BURNS,

In the two years the Petal Police Department has sponsored the Car Show at the City of Petal Fall Festival, the event has paid dividends for the department’s Shop With a Cop program - $1,371 in 2016 and $1,650 in 2018.

Officials are hoping for another good showing at the 2019 Car Show, which will be held from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 26 at Hinton Park behind Petal Civic Center. Attendance and registration are free, but donations are welcome for Shop With a Cop, a program in which Petal police officers take local children Christmas shopping.

“The Shop With a Cop program provided 46 families with Christmas gifts in the area, thanks to fundraisers and private donations,” said Miranda Williams, administrative assistant at Petal Police Department. “The Petal Police Department is committed to bridging the gap between the community and the police department.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we receive each year with this program. We look forward to seeing everyone there as we continue our mission of serving the community.”

The show will feature anywhere from 70 to 90 vehicles, including antique models, muscle cars, motorcycles, and rat rods. Awards will be given in several categories, including Best Interior, Best In Show, Best Paint, Best Motor and Best Street Rod. Food vendors and family activities – such as face painting for the children and arts and crafts – will be available, and a live band will entertain the audience. Attendees also will have the chance to win door prizes and raffles.

Eddie Reid, owner of Pro Street Customs in Petal, is again helping to put on the event.

“It’s for the kids,” Reid said. “I grew up without a daddy, and my momma struggled to just give Christmas to me and my brother.

“I feel like with God’s blessing, I need to give back. Even in my restoration job, I thank him first and let him know that I know where everything came from.”

Registration for the event is free and can be completed on the “2019 Car Show benefiting Shop With a Cop” Facebook page. Participants who register before Oct. 18 will receive an extra entry in the door prize raffle.

Shop With a Cop, which was started in 2003 to help families buy Christmas presents for their children, allows police officers to have lunch with children, and gives kids the chance to tour police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles like the Rescue 7 helicopter. At the end of the day, officers meet the children at Walmart for Christmas shopping.

“I’m very, very passionate about helping underprivileged kids have a Christmas of some sort, and this is one way of doing it,” Reid said. “And it also gives the kids an opportunity to be with a police officer for a little bit of time, and to see that police officer is actually meant to be a pillar of the community and to help in any kind of way.

“Hopefully, they can steer these kids in the right direction, and to not be in gangs and stuff of that nature.”

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