There were no mad dashes down the aisles nor any Skip-To-My-Lou jaunts between stations, and the smiles were somewhat hidden.
But for 13 Lee’s Summit elementary school students, the contained enthusiasm was the reflection of a humbling shopping experience.
Thanks to the Lee’s Summit Police Officer’s Association and various generous donors, the organization’s 26th annual Shop With a Cop holiday extravaganza gave the students a chance to play gift-giver to family members akin to a modern day Santa Claus.
“For my mom, I’m getting her a bracelet,” said Richard Thompson, a third-grade student at Meadow Lane Elementary School. “I don’t know what I’m going to get my grandma. For my aunt, I’m getting her a necklace. I forgot what my brother likes.”
The students, representing Westview, Lee’s Summit, Hazel Grove and Meadow Lane elementary schools, took to the Lee’s Summit Walmart Dec. 11 as part of the annual event, and like most beneficiaries of generosity, paid the bigheartedness forward by shopping for family members before picking and choosing gifts for themselves.
“I think it’s nice,” KeShawn Barnes, a sixth-grade student at Meadow Lane, said of the shopping experience while still playing her part of Kris Kringle inside Walmart. “I get to go shopping. I got (her mother) a DVD and Blue-Ray player. She said she really wanted one.”
After selecting gifts that totaled a value of $350 each, the students headed to police headquarters to wrap gifts and feast on meals donated by the local Chick-Fil-A. Participants also received a visit from McGruff the Crime Dog, the Chick-Fil-A mascots, and Santa Claus.
“It’s a great program,” said Michael Reese, a Lee’s Summit police officer. Reese helped organized this year’s event along with fellow LSPOA member Aaron Evans, a sergeant with the LSPD. “It means a lot to us here. There are a lot of officers that look forward to this every year. Unfortunately we are only able to raise so much money and help so many kids when there is a lot more out there that need to be helped. We do what we can.
“They are Lee’s Summit children, so obviously it (affects) our community and funds are provided from businesses in Lee’s Summit. Then you have the support of the Lee’s Summit Police Officers Association and the police department was generous enough to allow us to be in uniform and use the cars and be in the facility.”