Now is the time to act to help a child have a wonderful Christmas he or she might not otherwise experience.

Applications for families to participate in Christmas with a Cop are now available at local law enforcement offices.

The program is being coordinated by the Madison Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 128. Applications can be picked up at the police department or sheriff's department and will be accepted until Dec. 3.

A child who took part in the program last year will not be eligible for the program this year. This year's participants cannot participate in any other local Christmas programs.

Last year 40 children participated in the program. Children were chosen based on family income and the level of need.

Children were provided with food and had a visit from Santa Claus. They were then paired with a police officer and given money to purchase items the child needed. Children were required to purchase necessities before any toys were purchased.

A date has not been set for the program which is funded entirely through donations. The number of children that can be helped depends on the amount of donations.

That's where the community can help. Those of us who are blessed and able to give our families a Christmas filled with gifts should consider helping out these children who otherwise might go without any gifts.

Anyone wanting to donate to the program or anyone with questions can call (812) 265-3347 or (812) 265-2648.