Over 60 local kids were partnered with uniformed officers Saturday for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office annual Shop with a Cop.
“Often times that’s the only positive interaction that child will have with law enforcement so we want to make sure that it’s special and we really want to make sure that child has a special Christmas,” Ashley Grover with the sheriff’s department said. “Most of these kids, their homes, they are not getting Christmas meals, they don’t have a Christmas tree and they wouldn’t be getting Christmas presents if they weren’t coming to this program.”
To many, like deputy coroner Tim King, ’tis the season to give back.
“Being able to be blessed, to give back to the community we serve, but not only that coming from a lifestyle like that, and then being able to return the favor when people helped me when I was in a situation, it’s just an honor to be able to do that,” King said.
Ivy Almanza, 11, had no idea what was in store for her when her mom woke her up early Saturday morning.
“I was very surprised because I thought I was in trouble,” Almanza said.
Almanza shopped with Sgt. Jackie Newell and Newell’s mother.
On the top of her wish list, her very first bike, complete with a stylish helmet, bike lock for safety and of course a “Girls Rule” license plate.
However, Sgt. Newell didn’t stop with making Almanza’s Christmas wish come true. Gift’s for her three siblings, mother and father were added to the cart.
“The children that participate in this program are very selfless,” Newell said. “They are use to providing and helping and doing things for their family, it’s kind of a group, they kind of survive together so they always want to try and get something usually for their family members so I always like to offer that to them. It’s very exciting for them to be able to have the ability to pick something out for sisters and brothers and moms and dads.”
When the shopping was done, the kids took their presents to be wrapped before heading home.
“It makes your Christmas that much more special to know that you’ve been able to touch somebody else’s lives,” Newell said. “I really love doing it.”
Shop with a Cop is over, but KCSO said it still has its Adopt-A-Kid Christmas tree at its headquarters facility on Norris Road, where anyone is invited to select a child off the tree and make their Christmas wish come true.
Those ornaments can be picked up until Monday, Dec. 18.