EMS, MEPA partner to make Christmas great for area children

(O'Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

(O’Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

SHILOH – Some local less fortunate kids got to spend a fun Saturday morning with the O’Fallon-Shiloh EMS shopping around Target at the inaugural Shop with the EMS event.

Similar to the O’Fallon Police Department’s Shop with a Cop program, the EMS members take kids around the store and tell them to grab whatever they want either for themselves or someone else they know.

“The police department has been doing Shop with a Cop for 20 years and we wanted to be part of it. We thought it was a fantastic way to not only help some folks in the community, but also perform some outreach and get to know our neighbors,” said Jim Holley, Senior EMS Supervisor.

Holley, who is also the President of the Metro East Paramedics Association, said when the idea to do this came about, MEPA jumped at the chance to help out.

(O'Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

(O’Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

“I’m the president of the Metro East Paramedics Association and we’re funding the event for O’Fallon. Funding is always hard to come by at first for any program. The police department uses the proceeds from their golf tournament to fund their program. MEPA thought it could help kick start the program by providing the shopping money for this year,” Holley said.

Holley said it was the city’s idea to expand the program and bring it into Shiloh.

“Since the police are doing this already for kids in O’Fallon, and since we’re O’Fallon-Shiloh EMS, we decided to branch over into Shiloh. We wanted to help kids over here,” he said.

Holley wanted to thank Target and Tim Hortons for their help and generosity.

(O'Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

(O’Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

“We hooked up with Target for Toys for Tots a few weeks back. That went over really well and so we approached them about doing this and they’ve been very helpful. Also Tim Hortons donated donuts and snacks for kids to eat,” Holley said.

For its first year, the program served 12 kids, spending around $500 on each child. Holley said he hopes the program grows, not just in Shiloh, but around the Metro East.

“We’re hoping this grows, and not just here. Since we’re the Metro East Paramedics Association, we’re hoping this program can expand into other venues as well,” he said.