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Auburn Police Officer's Association hosts Shop With a Cop | SLIDESHOW
The big day may have been more than two weeks away, but for 22 kids from the Auburn School District, last Saturday must have seemed like Christmas morning.
The children, one each from the district’s 22 schools, were on hand at the Auburn Walmart Supercenter for the Auburn Police Officers Association-sponsored Shop With a Cop event.
“This is the second one we’ve done,” said Officer Jody Howard, event organizer. “I’d heard about it in other cities. We give money throughout the year and donate, but we set up some side funds for this. Last year we did 13 kids, but this year I wanted to do all the schools in the district, and that means 22 kids. I came down and met the store manager here, Janet (Faulkner). They donated $1,000 and we did the rest ($1,200) to cover all the kids. We just didn’t want to exclude anybody.”
The event paired police officers with a kid and $100 to spend on gifts for themselves and their families.
For Tiffany Ruiz, 10, of Chinook Elementary, it was all about giving.
“Tiffany is shopping for all of her family,” Officer Natalie Mounts said. “I don’t think there is one thing in her cart for her, and she has about $10 left.”
Ruiz said she was planning on getting something for herself, but only after she bought presents for each of her 12 family members, including her mom, aunts, uncles and cousins.
In the shoe aisle, Sgt. Brian Williams was busy lacing up a new pair of sneakers for his shopping partner, Kyle Joyce, 10, from Washington Elementary.
“This is the first time I’ve done it,” Williams said. “We just do it because there are a lot of kids who deserve a little extra help. It’s nice that the school district can provide us with the names of some kids who can use that extra hand. And if we can meet with these kids and give them a positive impression of the police department and what it means to give to others, we want to do that.”
After the kids were done shopping, they were treated to lunch with their police partners, courtesy of Subway restaurant.
“Just seeing the looks on the kids’ faces, it’s something I’ve never experienced before,” Howard said. “It’s really heartwarming and makes you realize the reason for the season.”