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The original item was published from 12/8/2021 4:19:44 PM to 12/11/2021 12:05:00 PM.

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Posted on: December 7, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Shop with a Cop

2 police officers with a teenage boy shopping

It’s that time of year where the Haines City Police Department spreads holiday cheer.

On Saturday, Dec. 11, the agency will host its annual “Shop with a Cop” event. The agency has partnered with Big Lots Corporation to help underprivileged children purchase gifts this holiday season.

The children were selected by teachers and staff at their respective schools to participate in the event. Those selected will be given a $100 gift card and allowed to shop throughout Big Lots with a police officer, firefighter, or volunteer. Following the event, Small World Tours have arraigned charter buses to transport the kids from Big Lots to El Zocalo Supermarket for a free meal. 

“To see the community come together to help those in need makes me proud to be part of this great city,” said Edward Walker Dean, City Manager. “Our first responders work very hard to keep us safe, but they’re also very community-minded and this is another example of the many other ways that they make a positive impact.”

In addition to providing gifts for families in need, the Shop with a Cop program reaches members of the community who may otherwise hesitate to engage with police officers. It also allows children to become familiar with police and feel comfortable in their presence. It teaches the children that police officers are individuals with unique interests, goals, and families of their own, who are here to help. 

“As police officers, we make a difference in our community on a daily basis, but seeing the look on these children’s faces is what makes this event truly special,” Police Chief Jim Elensky said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to spearhead it and humbled by the local businesses and organizations who have stepped forward to help.”


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