Every year, the Shop with a Cop program helps bring a happy holiday to some deserving children in our area, reinforcing the message that police are, indeed, our friends.
"I love to get the chance to do this," said Officer Jamie Carrizales of the Corpus Christi Independent School District Police Department. "It's a great opportunity for the kids. They get to see us outside of the schools, actually interacting and spending time with them, and go shopping, and we're actually having a good time, aren't we?"
For Carrizales, it's all just part of the job.
The annual Shop with a Cop program has already made stops in Calallen, Flour Bluff and Portland. On Tuesday, law enforcement officers from all over the Coastal Bend were at the Wal-Mart in the Parkdale Plaza shopping center.
Noriah Maldonado from Kostoryz Elementary was just one of the dozens of children selected to take part in the shopping spree.
"This is Noriah, and she wants a dress, and we are trying to decide which color she likes, the pink or the red," said Officer Brenda Garza of the Corpus Christi Police Department. "So we are trying to decide which color."
Garza and Maldonado were paired up together.
"This gives us an opportunity to volunteer with the children, knowing we can help them out there, also not that we are mean cops," Garza said. "We do good things for them, and we show them that we are nice cops and they can shop with us."
The end goal driving this program is to not only give children a very Merry Christmas, but to shine a positive light on law officers like Nueces County Deputy Eusebio Lerma, Jr., who had the opportunity to meet Anthony Guardiola, who was celebrating his birthday, but was also thinking about his nine-year old brother during the shopping trip.
"I got him some shoes and a candy cane, and a shirt," Guardiola said.
"His bro and him share not the same birthday, but the same month, and they celebrate together, so he thought about his brother as far as tennis shoes," Lerma said.
The Shop with a Cop program is always looking for donations. For information on how you can help, call 361-442-4787.
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