Dozens of children from Watertown and Brighton got a special Christmas treat this week when they got to pick out toys and other gifts for themselves at Target with a police officer.
Shop With a Cop has become a tradition at Watertown Target. This year about 40 children who may not have a gift got to have some pizza before heading out into the aisles to look for gifts. Each received a $50 gift card to spend.
“We’ve been doing this for the last three or four years,” said Jonathan Kingsley, Target’s district loss prevention manager.
Officers from the Watertown Police Department and Boston Police District D-14 in Brighton came along to shop with the kids.
“Sometimes law enforcement is not always seen in a positive light,” Kingsley said. “This is a way for them to do something positive, and Target wants to be a part of it.”
The children responded immediately to the officers. They chatted as they ate and thought about what they wanted as a gift.
“I love police officers now!” one child exclaimed.
Watertown Sgt. John MacLellan pushed around a red shopping cart accompanied by two young boys – Jefferson and Joshua. First they hit the Legos section, then the Nerf area and finally the scooters. Joshua grabbed a scooter and Jefferson found a variety of items.
The Police Department gets some recommendations for children who could use some extra gifts from the Watertown Boys & Girls Club.
Sometimes the children have a hard time getting a toy for themselves.
“Last year one of the kids wanted to buy groceries for his family,” Kingsley said. “Another kid wanted to buy his mother something.”
This week, each child left Target with something for him or herself.