Some families face difficulties in providing gifts for their children. The Hollywood Police Department decided to help more than 20 hardworking children by giving them a $100 gift card to be used during the Shop with a Cop event at Walmart.
Members of the Hollywood Police Department provided monetary donations to allow the children to shop for gifts for themselves and their families. School Resource Officers identified the children who took part for having achieved good grades, keeping a positive attitude and behaving well.
The children and their families met in front of Walmart during the evening. They paired up with a police officer and walked through the store, picking out items to purchase for themselves, their siblings and their parents.
“This is a great opportunity to give back to the community,” Hollywood Police Sgt. Nicola Williams said.
Assistant Police Chief Tom Demmery said he was pleased to see children and their families enjoying the evening and getting to know police officers. “We are building relationships with children. By shopping with a police officer, the children are getting to know the police in a positive atmosphere,” he said.
Major Manny Marino also enjoyed the event. “I love it. This gives us a chance to interact with kids in our community,” he said.
Lisa LaBruto, a counselor at Hollywood Central Elementary School, most liked seeing the kids have a good time. “It is amazing to see the smiles on the faces of the children,” she said. “I am excited that we can give these children this experience.”
Police Chief Tomas Sanchez started Shop with a Cop last year as a way to give back to the community. “We want to encourage the children to buy presents for their siblings. We want to them to learn the value of giving to others,” he said.