The Niagara Falls Review
Kids and cops shop until they drop
Community Care, mall help children have a happy holiday
Taeshaun Haynes wasn’t sure what he wanted to buy during his Christmas shopping excursion, but he knew he was going to get something for his little sister.
Haynes, 9, a student at E. I. McCulley school in St. Catharines, was one of 40 children taking part in the Cop Shop event at the Pen Centre Wednesday.
Children were paired with police officers, who played the role of personal shoppers.
“It’s a good event on many levels,” said Pen Centre marketing director Rick Woodward. “It’s a good event for the youngsters specially chosen by Community Care to receive $200 Pen Centre gift cards.
“For the police officers, it is a good opportunity to interact in a meaningful and a different way. The children may come from environments where a police officer isn’t always seen as a friend.”
After a pep talk from Santa, some free pizza and a cold drink, Haynes headed into the mall with Niagara Regional Police Const. Matt Maguire and Det. Const. Dennis Osti for some shopping.
For the police officers, it is a good opportunity to interact in a meaningful and a different way. . .” Pen Centre marketing director
The children often buy presents for their parents and other family members, Const. Phil Gavin said.
“They are thinking about other people,” he said. “They want to get the brother or sister something. They want to get their parents something. It’s refreshing.”
The students are recommended by Community Care of St. Catharines/Thorold and their school principals based on need, recognition of academic or sports achievement or volunteer efforts that make the community better.
Seven schools — E. I. McCulley, St. Theresa, St. Anthony, Memorial, St. Denis, Ferndale and Prince of Wales — were represented. The event has been run at the Pen Centre since 2008.
“This is one of the highlights of the Christmas season,” Woodward said. “Every year, we look forward to surprising the children and seeing how happy they are, spending time with the officers and buying gifts for their families or themselves. This is what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.”