Shop With Cops helps families, builds bridges

WASHINGTON – For some families in the District, the holiday season is tough. The money to put gifts under the tree isn’t always there.

To help those families, the Metropolitan Police Department and Target teamed up for the annual Shop with Cops event, to send nearly 200 kids on a $100 shopping spree at the Columbia Heights store.

On Friday, 109 kids joined 150 police officers with carts, searching the aisles for toys, electronics and clothes. The kids ranged in age from toddlers to teenagers.

“We look forward to this every year,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Lanier says her shopper, 14-year old Josslyn, knew exactly what she wanted. “She came directly to the shoes she wanted … in less than 3 minutes we already had our first gift,” she said.

“For some kids it’s a … help because some parents don’t have enough money or support to buy toys,” said Johnathan Funez, a D.C. parent whose daughter was selected to participate.

“For others, it’s a good way to socialize with other police officers, to show kids that police officers are pretty much, quote, un-quote, our heroes,” Funez said.

Six-year-old Brock knew what he wanted: “I got a Spiderman, and we’re going to the electronics to get a 3DS,” he said.

Some officers walked hand-in-hand with the kids; many children were even picked up by their officer in patrol cars. The police officer’s assignment was to keep some excited kids out of trouble in the store and keep them on budget.

It was the sixth year for the Shop with Cops event in the District.

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