The children were chosen by administrators of the Brentwood Union School District; selections were based on financial hardship. Many of the children’s parents have been unemployed or lead single-parent households. Children participating in the Shop With a Cop program purchase gifts for their families and themselves – a welcome reprieve from the harsh realities of their daily lives.
This year’s program was made possible by generous donations from the Brentwood Police Officers Association, the Brentwood Police Activities League, the Brentwood Regional Community Chest, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Brentwood Rotary Club.
Fifteen police officers along with the Police Explorers from Post 415 and staff from the Brentwood Police Department set out at 7:30 a.m., picking up the children and transporting them to the Brentwood Café, where owner Paul Boulos donated a Christmas breakfast to all in attendance. Santa and Mrs. Claus even flew down from the North Pole to meet the children.
Then the group was off to the Antioch Walmart, where each child was given a gift card and special Christmas gift basket provided by Walmart employees. In an act of spontaneous generosity, a Walmart shopper watching the Shop With a Cop activities was moved to purchase one child’s entire cartful of gifts – to the tune of $156. Another shopper made a cash donation to the event.