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Children feel like royalty shopping with beauty queen Varner

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Sunday, December 23, 2012

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Riley Varner, 2012/2013 Young Miss Teen for Greenwood County, helped children shop during Cops for Tots Saturday at the Cannon Centre.

Jim Fair

Riley Varner, 2012/2013 Young Miss Teen for Greenwood County, helped children shop during Cops for Tots Saturday at the Cannon Centre.



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Russ Holthaus, who retires from the Greer Police Department on Dec. 31, has his hands full as he makes the rounds at Cops fo Tots.

Jim Fair

Russ Holthaus, who retires from the Greer Police Department on Dec. 31, has his hands full as he makes the rounds at Cops fo Tots.



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Bikes were distributed to some children and large bags were available for all children to fill during the Cops for Tots shopping spree Saturday.

Jim Fair

Bikes were distributed to some children and large bags were available for all children to fill during the Cops for Tots shopping spree Saturday.



Enlarge photo

Tables filled with a variety of toys, dolls and books awaited children as they shopped uninhibited. Parents waited at an exit.

Tables filled with a variety of toys, dolls and books awaited children as they shopped uninhibited. Parents waited at an exit.



Leftovers from Cops for Tots Saturday at the Cannon Centre.

Riley Varner graced Cops for Tots Saturday morning wearing the crown of 2012/2013 Young Miss Teen for Greenwood County. Riley helped children shop for toys wearing her crown. The little girls who shopped with Riley were fascinated being helped by a beauty queen.

Riley is the daughter of Greer Police Lt. Cris Varner and Greer Idol 2011 winner Dana Jordan.

• Children from a variety of demographics are treated to a shopping spree without parents accompanying them. Police steer parents to the exit to await their children. The idea is for children to be comfortable what they like.

• Perhaps the most poignant shopping being done was a child who couldn’t speak but excitedly pointed to toys and dolls she wanted. A police volunteer made sure the little girl had a good day shopping.

• Camilla Pitman, who was among the early organizers for Cops for Tots recalled, “This toy drive began in the detention cells in the police department.”

• Fred Earle, Jr. took time away from his cooking duties at Mutt’s BBQ in Greer. Earle has been the morning chef for the past 14 years. He arrives at 4 a.m. and begins cooking the barbecue and setting up the buffet.

Earle said he will be doing the cooking on Christmas for his family. “I will have ham, turkey, chicken and dressing . . . I do it all,” Earle said.

• Susan Hall, who retired from the Greer Police Department earlier this year, was Mrs. Claus Saturday. She has been in that role for the past four years at Cops for Tots. “I have people recognizing me outside saying, ‘I remember seeing you as Mrs. Claus.’”

There were about 300 children Cops for Tots entertained Saturday. The number decreased the past year and the police collected an inventory of toys, games, books, stuffed animals and dolls for next year’s event.

• Greer Relief routinely donates left over goods to Cops for Tots. The Greer agency served 700 families last week, the most ever.

• Police, family members, students and friends all contributed their time as volunteers.

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