Twenty Local Kids ‘Shop With A Cop’ for School Essentials, Courtesy of Pasadena Rotary

Published : Tuesday, August 28, 2018 | 5:22 AM

Twenty middle school students in the Pasadena area were each paired with a Pasadena police officer last Friday, August 24, to shop for school essentials with a $100 Target gift card through the Pasadena Rotary Club’s fourth annual “Shop with a Cop” event, in partnership with the Pasadena Police Department.

Each year, the Pasadena Boys and Girls Club selects deserving students who don’t have the economic resources to buy school supplies on their own and provides a list to the Rotary Club. In turn, the Rotary Club purchases the gift cards from Target and gives these to the 20 students.

Kathy Meagher, who was Pasadena Rotary Club president from 2015 to 2016, said they started Shop with a Cop in 2015 with 20 kids, and it’s been a success ever since.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” she said. “We try to get the middle school-aged children because they can connect better with the police than a high school student, or if they’re really young, they don’t remember the experience. What we’re trying to do is create a really positive experience between our Pasadena police and our youth in Pasadena. That’s the whole concept of Shop with a Cop.”

When the Rotary Club is able to receive additional funds, they either sponsor more than 20 students per event, or hold another Shop with a Cop event within the year. Among the usual essentials the students choose at Target are school supplies, clothing, tennis shoes for PE, and personal hygiene items.

“We care because we know what an important thing this is for the entire community that our children know that people care about them that they’re not out there alone,” said JP Harris, who’s co-chair of the Rotary Club Shop with a Cop committee this year. “This is a partnership and we’re all together and we want them to know that they are supported by a lot of people in the community.”

Pasadena police Sgt. Glenn Thompson, who’s assigned to the Pasadena Police Department’s Community Services Section, says Shop with a Cop is just one of the many activities throughout the year that their officers play a significant role in.

“The community services (section) is basically the one of the main backbones in the police department where we basically go out and we engage the community,” Thompson said. “This is one event of several that we participate in where we come in and we engage our young people to let them know that officers are their friends and that they are human just like they are.”

Thompson adds Pasadena police officers also take part in an annual Thanksgiving basket giveaway and a Christmas giveaway as well.

“We also do an event with our PAL (Pasadena Police Activities League) program where we are taking our PAL case down to Macy’s and where they ring the red kettle bell for the Salvation Army who is also one of our partners,” he said. “Again, the Rotary and Salvation Army are just some of our partners that we have partnered up with to really help us engage the community and let them know the Pasadena police is a community based policing organization.”

Each year, Target also provides the lucky recipients of the Shop with a Cop program with student goodie bags, assigns dedicated staff to greet the students and their partner officers at the door and provides extra personalized services as they shop.

 

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