Shop with A Cop, Leave with A Friend
On a frosty Wednesday evening the Maple Grove Police Department loaded up buses of kids and took them shopping for their families. I’m not sure who had more fun, the cops or the kids!
From the moment you stepped into the Maple Grove Community Center you could feel the excitement. There were kids of all ages pairing up with their cops and getting to know each other before the shopping began. From playing games with the younger kids to honest discussions with the older kids, there was some real bonding happening.
When all the kids had arrived and spent some time with their cop(s), they filed into buses and headed to Walmart. The looks on people’s faces when this huge group of cops and kids walked into the store was priceless. It was quite a sight to see. Walmart greeted the kids with “Holiday Helpers” and candy, guaranteeing the bonus of a sugar rush for shopping.
From then it was delightful chaos as the kids pulled their cops all over the store. Some of the children were quiet and thoughtful, picking out gifts for everyone (even their siblings). Other kids were talking a mile a minute and barely able to contain their excitement and ideas. I have never seen a group of people more patient than the Maple Grove Police Department. They were always smiling, laughing, asking thoughtful questions, helping kids reach for toys that were too far away, or quietly listening as a child told them all about what their mom wants for Christmas, or what they wanted to get their brother or sister (or maybe even what they wanted themselves).
It’s amazing that the Maple Grove Police Department does this for these children and their families each year, but I think the best part of the event is the bond that is formed with the officers. You could see it on the faces of the kids as they pulled their cop by the hand to the next aisle or in all seriousness told them to “guard their cart”. I heard a little boy ask one officer some very thoughtful questions about his job and received some awesome answers in return. It’s incredibly valuable for kids to experience firsthand that police officers are their friends and keep us safe. They can tell jokes, and pick out mittens and dolls, or hold your hand walking to the bus.
Shop with a Cop was not only successful, but it is ensuring that these children and their families will have a wonderful holiday season and memories that last a lifetime.
Thank you to the Maple Grove Police Department for all that you do!