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December 14, 2010 > Shop with a Cop

Shop with a Cop

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Fremont PD

Fremont Police Department, in partnership with Target Stores, Mission San Jose Rotary and Fremont Police Association, sponsored the seventh annual Shop with a Cop event Wednesday, December 8. Supporting children and families identified by the Family Resource Center of the Human Services Department, dedicated volunteers and cops helped purchased holiday gifts for family members during a shopping spree at Target in the Hub Shopping Center.

Funds for the program are donated by local businesses, community groups, Police officers, and employees. Generous contributions were received from sponsors: Target, Mission San Jose Rotary Club, Fremont Police Officers Association, Fremont Bank, Fremont Association of City Employees, Fremont Association of Management Employees, Teamsters, Outback Steakhouse, Starbucks, and employees of the Fremont Police Department. Martha Matthiesen, Community Engagement Specialist for the Fremont Police Department, coordinated Shop with a Cop efforts.

Shop with a Cop invites 20 children identified by the Human Services Department and gives them the opportunity to purchase holiday gifts. Children selected must be from a low-income family, attending a Fremont school, and receiving services from the Family Resource Center. Once a child is selected, the Family Resource Center helps the family prepare a "wish list" for the shopping trip.

Each child is allotted approximately $30 - $50 for each family member. Separate gifts for the children are purchased ahead of time by the program. The children are chauffeured to and from school by a Fremont Police officer, and once they arrive at Target, are escorted by the officer and a special helper from the store to purchase their gifts. Children are then accompanied to the "wrapping station" where they join volunteers to wrap their family's presents.

Target awarded a $2,000 grant to the program, gift wrap for all the presents, employees' time to volunteer throughout the day, and invited Santa to spend time with the kids. Following the shopping, participants and volunteers enjoyed lunch courtesy of Outback Steakhouse.

Fremont Police Department Mobile Command Center, located in the parking lot, offered a number of activities for the children- police canines, motorcycle officers, and a visit from Santa Claus to name a few. The children took home a special gift from their police officer companions.

"We have touched the lives of nearly 100 families over the first six years of this event, and we hope to continue this tradition of giving back to more Fremont families in the future," said Detective Bill Veteran, Fremont PD. "The Fremont PD is honored to have the opportunity to brighten the holiday experience for 20 families in our community," he said.

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