Bolingbrook police officials helped 100 children shop for gifts Dec. 18 through the Bolingbrook Police Department's annual Shop with a Cop program.
Each child received a $50 Meijer gift card to pick out a gift for himself or herself. Most chose to spend their money on gifts for their families, as well.
Police helped the children make their selections and wrap the gifts.
"It is exemplified by the unselfishness the students bring, as many buy gifts for other family members even though they might not get any gifts themselves this season," said Bolingbrook Police Lt. Mike Rompa.
"Many of our officers identify this and then take the child back into the store to buy them something extra at their cost. This is truly what the event and Christmas is all about."
Sgt. Rich Hilliard and Naomy Ramierez (featured in the photo) instantly bonded. Ramierez told Hilliard that she now knew Santa Claus was real. Naomy chose a Barbie for herself and spent the rest of her gift card on gifts for her family.
When they were finished, Ramierez hugged Hilliard and wouldn't let go.
"I think we all look forward to this event each holiday season," Rompa said. "I have officers come up and apologize if they cannot attend. They know this has a positive impact on the Bolingbrook community.
"The police versus the public is removed, we all unite as one. Perhaps this will enable a participant to reach out to the police for help in lieu of doing something tragic during tough times, later in life."
Valley View provides a list of students who would benefit from the program. The police then contact the students' parents to see if they can participate.
Meijer Store Manager Brian Danner and his administrative assistant Pam Willis work with Bolingbrook PD to put the event together.
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