INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Around 200 area kids got into the Christmas spirit Saturday as Metro Police officers and Marion County Sheriff's deputies spent the day with them for the annual "Shop with a Cop" event.
This year it was held at the Meijer Store on Southport Road.
"We take the kids shopping, we get them new clothes, new coat, shoes, a couple of toys and try to make them very happy today. Have a good day," IMPD Ofc. Tanika Sperry explained. "I think I'm having more fun than they are, though!"
Ofc. Sperry spent her day tracking down new coats and snow boots for two sisters and their twin brothers. It's a holiday shopping experience that many of these children might not otherwise see.
Rick Snyder, president of FOP Lodge 86, says organizers plan for this event all year.
"Many children we've had over years past tell us that it's the best Christmas that they've ever had. What we find out is, which is great, is that it really doesn't have anything to do with the toys, having to do with the clothes, it's the experience just the fact that these children-- these officers actually care about them. It's really about the Christmas season."
Officers pick the children up early in the morning, they have breakfast and then head to the store.
IMPD Ofc. Anthony Patterson says he enjoys spending the day with the children.
"She's going to have some new things, some new toys and that's exciting for kids, and that's really why I like doing this. It's really for the kids," he said.
But it's also about giving back to the community. The children help put together a holiday food basket that will be delivered to seniors in the community next week.
"In that officers are able to talk to the children about the time of getting a hand up, they're also able to pay that forward and help others in the community so it's really important life lesson, if you will," Snyder said.
"So it's not just about the shopping, these kids are having a positive interaction with the police, which is important," Ofc. Sperry added.
The event is hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge Number 86, along with community sponsors.
The FOP says this is one of the largest "Shop With A Cop" events in the country.