It’s the season of giving, and the Harlingen Police Department along with numerous sponsors gave back in a big way the morning of Dec. 19, at the fourth annual Shop With a Cop event.
A crowd of law enforcement officers, community members cheerfully welcomed 85 fifth-graders from across Harlingen CISD who were selected to go on a $100 shopping spree.
“It’s programs like Shop With a Cop that illuminate the value of partnerships and community coming together to help children and families. We’re super blessed at HCISD to partner with HPD and other law enforcement agencies to make children’s Christmas extra special. You hear so many moving stories in which the first thing students want to do is shop for their mom, dad, brother, or sister. It’s a heartwarming experience to see a chain reaction of giving take hold throughout this event.”
For HPD Chief of Police Jeff Adickes, who first introduced this event to the Harlingen community, it was a poignant moment as he prepared to retire from the force.
“This is community policing. We’re growing relationships with these kids that they’ll never forget,” said Adickes. “I want Shop With a Cop to continue to grow. We’ve grown it every year over the last four years, and I’ve already committed the guys to put it over 100 kids next year. It’s an emotional day, but this is a great day to retire to see the joy in the kids’ faces.”
After taking group photos at the store entrance, the students eagerly pushed their shopping carts through the aisles – most of them making their way toward the toy section.
“I picked out a Monopoly Fortnight game to play with my brothers and sisters and a small stuffed animal to hook onto my backpack,” said George Mendez, a student at Long Elementary.
While the students were out shopping for gifts, the true meaning of the holidays was ever present.
“Christmas is about spending time with family and having fun,” said Moises Alcocer, a student at Zavala Elementary. “I want to thank law enforcement for making this happen so that I could get stuff for my brother, sister, and myself.”
Students brought their day of shopping to a close with pizza and bowling at Bass Pro Shop.
The event was made possible through the generous contributions of community members, Target, Bass Pro Shops, FedEx, City of Harlingen, Department of Public Safety, Border Patrol, and many more.