Imagine waking up Christmas morning with a stocking still empty and no presents under the tree? And a special Christmas meal will not be served.
Sadly, this is a reality for many children in the South Florida area. But thanks to some very giving law enforcement officers, more than 200 children had toys not only to give their family, but they even got a few things for themselves. This is thanks to Shop with a Cop.
Every year, Deputy Bob Cresswell with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office raises money, so hundreds of families will have a special holiday season.
Cresswell and his fellow officers raised more than $80,000 for the event held a few weeks before Christmas. It costs about $400 per child.
"There's a pizza party and then Santa flies on a helicopter. We bring them outside to see Santa Claus land, and they all get pictures with Santa Claus. We have toys for them and cakes and cookies."
Then, it's off to Wal-Mart for some serious shopping.
"We end up putting all the kids in patrol cars. We let the kids play with the lights and siren and talk on the loud speaker."
Each child is then giving $100. "They're told they have to buy something for everyone in their family. After they're done with that they can go on ahead and buy themselves something."
And you'd be surprised what all the kids want to buy. "You'd think they'd buy their sister or brother a toy, but they'll go right to the clothes section, and they'll end up buying shoes."
And many of the deputies are pulling money out of their own pockets, so these kids can buy those sneakers for their dad.
These children aren't the only ones who are benefit from Shop with a Cop.
"There's been a couple of years where the kids have been shy and then end of touching you by the words they say to you, 'Thank you for everything you've done.'"
Then, there's a special surprise waiting for them at the end. "We let them know they get a bike, too."
Plus, mom gets a $100 gift certificate a Publix to provide a special Christmas dinner.
If you want to get involved in Shop with Cop this year, contact Deputy Bob Cresswell at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office at 561.688.3000. They're already preparing for this year because the holiday season is not the only season for giving.
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