The holiday season just got a little brighter for children in Rockford. The Rockford Police Association, Police Benevolent and Protective Association (PBPA) will host its 21st annual “Shop with a Cop” program from 8 to 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Target on East State Street in Rockford.
The national program, which is sponsored and hosted locally by the PBPA and supported by local businesses, pairs underprivileged children with a member of the PBPA for holiday shopping for themselves and family members.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s important for children to see local police officers as a helping hand,” said Officer Reynaldo Gallardo with the Rockford Police Department. “‘Shop with a Cop’ is just one of the many community programs sponsored and supported by the PBPA, and our members especially look forward to this event because of the impact it makes on a child’s holiday season.”
This year’s event will be the largest “Shop with a Cop” to date with 90 children paired with 30 Rockford police officers for a shopping adventure. Each child is given $150, and Target is donating a 15 percent discount.
With the “Shop with a Cop” program, each child must purchase one necessity item, such as a coat or a pair of boots, and the rest of the money can be used at the child’s discretion. The participants were chosen by Rockford Public School District 205 administration and staff.
The PBPA hosts “Shop with a Cop” twice a year — once in August with a focus on back-to-school supplies and again in December for the holidays. It is estimated that thousands of at-risk youth have benefited from the PBPA’s “Shop with a Cop” program. The organization also supports numerous community groups and activities, including Roy Gayle baseball, Boys & Girls Club, Carrie Lynn Children’s Center and more.
“While our organization is best known for advocating for safety and welfare issues in our region, we are also committed to being involved in our community,” said Terrence Peterson, PBPA president. “We are extremely proud that our members, both active and retired police officers, donate countless hours and dollars to charitable work.”
From the Dec. 10-16, 2014, issue