PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some members of the Philadelphia Police Department helped kids go on a shopping spree Friday during their Shop With a Cop event. While children whisper their Christmas wishes, there’s one bonus in the mix.
“I don’t know what I want yet, but my aunt said she wanted some chips,” Aquila Gordon, a fifth-grader, said.READ MORE: Man Killed In Road Rage Shooting In Springfield Identified, Authorities Say
So much to choose from, and so little time.
“The thought of children not having gifts to open on Christmas day is heartbreaking,” Eric Cushing, of the Philadelphia Police Foundation, said. “The fact that we can bring 210 children out today and give them that magic, that spirit of Christmas, the holiday season, I think it’s the best event of the year.”
Friday was a special day for a number of Philadelphia police officers and children they’ve been paired with.
“He called me on the phone and he said they were doing Shop With A Cop this year,” one mother said. “He picked my two kids to do Shop With a Cop and I think it’s a blessing.”
Walking in, some children already knew what they were getting, whether for their families or themselves.
“I’m gonna get Hotwheels,” Alonzo said.
“A new pillow and blanket so her bed can look nice,” one young boy said.READ MORE: Here's How To Help Your Pet Stay Calm, Safe During Fourth Of July Fireworks
Philly’s police department has been faced with multiple challenges this year, including the soaring gun violence epidemic.
“Seeing as though where we’re from police officers don’t always have a good look, so for them to call me it’s something positive and I started crying,” Tawandaa Austin, of West Philadelphia, said.
But as we count down to Christmas, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and her department have partnered with multiple organizations to make this holiday special for a number of families.
“We went to different schools and asked the counselors and teachers, what’s going on, who needs a little bit more help,” Arnold Mitchell, an officer with the 12 district, said.
It’s not the first holiday the Philadelphia Police Department has given back to the community as they work to cultivate relationships, but this year the holiday event has been revamped.
The kickoff is the first annual Shop With a Cop event. With the new name, each district will choose 10 children, who will each receive a Walmart gift card to buy themselves and their family members holiday gifts.
“We still have to remember there are still many, many children in the city that will not have a present, and that’s why this should be the beginning of something big that should grow every year,” Joe Sullivan, of the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, said.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Boys Choir Heads To Puerto Rico For First Trip Since Pandemic: 'It's Really Exciting'
None of this would be possible without the community coming together with generous donations and of course officers volunteering their time.