‘Shop with a Cop’ pairs students and officers for holiday shopping

Cops and kids wait in line before Target opens their doors.

Cops and kids wait in line before Target opens their doors.

An empty department store, complimentary $100 gift card, and a police officer to help with your shopping sound this time of year, how great does that sound?  For 55 in-need students, that dream scenario was a reality.

“It’s always great to come out and show a different side to these kids and their families,” said Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada.  “We get incredible support from our city – and this event looks to be a huge success.  We hope to hold more in Christmases to come.”

Early Monday morning, Anaheim Police Department’s Cops 4 Kids (C4K) partnered with Target Corporation to host its first annual “Shop with a Cop,” pooling $5,500 in donations from various businesses to allow each kid a $100 gift certificate to the store.

Students who were selected had no shortage of gift ideas.

Manuel Nolasco, 11 of Ponderosa Elementary, had the typical toys and clothes he’d enjoy this Christmas but also bought a pack of socks for his grandmother, exemplifying what the event was about.

Last week, Jacob Palacios told Ofc. Jake Gallacher – who helped organize the event – that all he wanted was “a pair of shoes and some clothes to to stay warm.”  Gallacher decided to pair him with Chief Quezada.

Quezada brought Jacob outside where his parents waited.  He met the Palacios family, and Jacob told Quezada he wanted to be a cop someday.  “We’d love to have you,” the chief said.

“We’re really excited and grateful for everything the police department has done for us,” said Jacob’s father.  “We’d be really proud if Jacob became an officer.  But he better work really hard for it.”

“Unfortunately, opportunities like this won’t come along often for these kids,” said Gallacher.  “We’re incredibly proud that we can bring some extra joy to them and their families today and in years to come.”

Monday was one of several charitable events APD has planned.  Sunday, C4K will hand out 50 Christmas turkey meals from noon until 3:00 p.m. and, on Tuesday, the department’s jail bus will be transformed into a giant reindeer for the first-ever C4K stuff-a-bus event.  The bus will go to various schools and businesses to gather gifts until the Adopt-A-Family, held December 23.

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