St. Joseph County police treat kids to shopping spree

South Bend, Ind. Christmas came early for about 30 kids in St. Joseph County.

They got to go on a shopping spree Thursday night as part of the county police department's annual "Christmas with Cops" event.

The kids started their night with a free meal at the Burger King on Grape Road, courtesy of Quality Dining. They spent time talking to officers and taking pictures with Santa.

Then, they headed over to Meijer on Portage Road in South Bend, where police drove them into to the parking lot with their lights and sirens on.

But, the most exciting part was picking out gifts.

While the kids were told to choose items for themselves, many put gifts for their parents at the top of their shopping list.

5-year-old Gracie's first stop was the floral department, where she picked out two bouquets of flowers -- one in her mother's favorite color.

"She did the same thing last year," said Sgt. Mary Potter, who shopped with Gracie. "They always think of their mother or other family members before herself."

Many of the 30 children selected for the program have mothers staying at the YWCA. Police help them pick out essentials first, like clothes and shoes.

But, kids get most excited about picking out a couple toys.

"This is so much fun, to see these kids' faces when they get a toy," Potter said.

Gracie decided on a Barbie, a toy Barbie laptop and a puzzle.

The local F.O.P., Quality Dining and Meijer all partner up every year to make the event happen.


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