Despite the brisk morning temperature and foggy weather, spirits were bright at this year’s unique Shop with a Cop event.
On Saturday, Dec. 12, Woodinville police officers, firefighters and some high school volunteers handed out the fixings for full turkey dinners, gift cards, and donated boxes full of holiday-themed goodies to more than 40 local families in need at a drive-thru event.
“We weren’t going to let COVID stop us,” police Chief Kathleen Larson said.
In a typical year, she said, more than 70 law enforcement officers would guide families with children through Target to do their holiday shopping in the annual Shop with a Cop event, organized by the police department and supported by the Woodinville Firefighters Benevolent Fund, the chamber of commerce and the Northshore School District. Restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic made the in-person event impossible, so organizers reached out to the community for different kinds of donations than have been gathered in the past.
Organizers used financial contributions to buy Target gift cards, Costco donated turkeys, and families, businesses and other groups put together personalized and decorated boxes full of goods such as mugs, pot holders and chocolate. The Woodinville High School basketball program donated a box, which of course included a basketball as well as other toys for the recipient family’s children.
The Northshore School District identifies local families with children in need for the program, which has continued to grow since Larson became involved, she said.
There were about seven children the first year she helped out with the program, she said, and this year there were 121.
In a year that has been filled with so much negativity, Larson said, it felt good to offer something positive.
About 15 firefighters and 15 police officers donned masks and braved a frosty morning to load cars with the dinner fixings and gift boxes last Saturday.
“I’m glad that we can adjust to times,” Firefighter Jace Allen said, “and figure out a way to still support the community.”