Underprivileged Kids Shop with a Cop

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Police departments throughout St. Francois County came together Friday morning at the Walmart in Farmington to help more than 500 children pick out Christmas gifts.

"You pick whichever ones you want", Officer White tells fourth-grader G'Niya as they hit the dolls aisle.

The goal was to help the children and teens buy presents for their family members.

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This is the third year NPD has sponsored the community-engagement event. "This program more or less made me want to become a police officer, so I feel like it's important to be here".

Committee raised $30,000 in four months to give back to underprivileged children this Christmas. "We had a good time".

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"We have a lot of happy kids and officers", said Bullock. Her mom, Valerie Allison, said she has always wanted to replace the "little bitty box TV in her room" that allows her to choose her own entertainment. I enjoy watching the kids' faces light up. A store employee mentioned that the Hazle Twp. location had a $1,500 grant they could use as spending money for the program, solving their problem of how they would fund the endeavor. They're excited. They think it's cool.

Brent dedicated this year's event to the memory of Unity Partnership's co-founder Ronald Allen, who was killed by an errant bullet while driving on Chicago's West Side last December.

"It's important to get these interactions early with kids, so when they're older, they realize we're their friends", Lt. Fred Nelson said.

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Diane Moca is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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