Shop With a Cop: a big success

Our community never ceases to amaze me. It was my honor and privilege to host and organize Kent's first Shop With a Cop event this holiday season.

Kent Police Cmdr. Mike O’Reilly helps select dresses from the Disney hit movie

Our community never ceases to amaze me. It was my honor and privilege to host and organize Kent’s first Shop With a Cop event this holiday season.

Shop with a Cop is a program that partners economically disadvantaged children with a police officer and allows them to do holiday shopping together.

Our team hosted a fundraiser where we raised $3,500, thanks to our community’s generous donations. We used that money and partnered with Target to purchase gift cards, which landed in the hands of 32 kids from our community.

Those kids met up with their police officer at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning at the Kent Target and were able to shop for themselves and their families.

It provides a unique opportunity for our kids and community to see our police department from a new perspective. It helps build relationships and trust.

What surprised me the most was seeing how many kids went straight to the clothing department rather than to toys and electronics. They purchased coats, shoes, soap and toothpaste, in many cases.

Our officers were not only generous in volunteering their time, but several of them reached into their own wallets when the gift cards ran out.

Thank you to our community for their generous donations. Thank you to Kent Target for opening your store and your hearts and letting these kids in for a VIP experience. Thank you to Chief Ken Thomas, Commander Jarod Kasner and the officers who made this happen. Thank you to Kent Youth and Family Services for sharing these amazing kids with us. And thanks to City Council President Dana Ralph for helping plan this event and feeding 32 hungry kids breakfast the morning of the event.

Together, we made the holiday season a little brighter for 32 families who might not have had much to look forward to.

– Bailey Stober

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