On Saturday, Dec. 9 there was a large police presence at the Walmart located at 1776 Plainfield Pike. There was no crime; however, it was the 2nd Annual Shop With A Cop presented by the Cranston YMCA, the Cranston Police Department, Elmwood Sports, Walmart and Cadence Manufacturing.
Members of the Cranston Police Department, including the Chief of Police, Colonel Michael J. Winquist, took local children shopping and provided disadvantaged children the chance to shop with local police officers to brighten their holidays. Children are selected based on income and circumstances with the assistance of the Cranston YMCA.
Each child was paired with a uniformed officer and was given gift cards in the amount of $150 each to spend on gifts for their family members and themselves.
“Shop with A Cop is one of our favorite community outreach programs, as it allows our Officers the opportunity to directly interact with children in the City of Cranston in a positive way. Seeing the smiles on the faces of children who are less fortunate makes it all worthwhile. This is the second year we participated in the event, which continues to expand with more children and police officers participating. Without the great generosity of our community partners, including Cadence Manufacturing, the Cranston YMCA, Walmart and Elmwood Sports, this great event would not be possible,” said Col. Michael Winquest, Chief of Police.
This year Elmwood Sports is also supporting the event by supplying t-shirts for the children to wear while they shop.
“This is the second annual event in our city and is by far one of the most rewarding events we as a police department take part in. I want to thank our community partners for their generosity, as well as the many Officers who volunteer their time to shop with the children,” Winquest said.
Cranston Police Officer Reis was matched up with Isabella DaRosa, age 7. Reis was there to help her to shop and to keep track of the money being spent. They became fast friends.
“What do YOU want for Christmas?” was Officer Reis’ first question to Isabella. “A tablet,” the young girl replied without hesitation. They immediately headed to the electronic section of Walmart.
Isabella was able to find a new tablet and cover for a total of $60 which left her plenty of money to still spend on herself and her family. With such a big heart, Isabella bought pajama bottoms for her mother and bought gifts for her siblings. Isabella’s brother, Andre, was off shopping with another officer.
Next, Officer Reis and Isabella headed to the art supply section where she was bought herself a 250-piece new art set complete with crayons, paints, felt tip markers and colored pencils.
Their final stop was the toy department, and both could be heard laughing throughout their shopping trip.
“I had a ball,” said Officer Reis. “I was able to make suggestions to Isabella as she not only shopped for herself, but also family members.”
This year twice as much children were selected, and more spending money was offered through donations by Cadence Manufacturing Charitable Committee which donated $2,250 and Walmart donated $1,000.
“We are thrilled to take part in ‘Shop with a Cop’ again this season. We are looking forward to the opportunity to talk with the kids about caring, giving, and fellowship; and we hope to come away with a connection and experience that we otherwise would not have the opportunity to create,” Captain Vincent McAteer, of the Department’s Office of Community Outreach said, “This is a truly positive way to make a lasting connection in the lives of our youngest citizens.”
“The Y is happy to be part of this event. We are even more excited about this year because of the community involvement. Cadence came through with more money than last year, Walmart donated additional money, a board member donated the shirts as Elmwood Sports turned the shirts around in 3 days and our board was part of the selection process. It is nice to be a part of bringing these different groups together for this event.,” said Cory Guglietti, Executive Director of the Cranston YMCA. “I had the pleasure of calling the families to let them know they had been selected. Everyone was so excited and grateful for the opportunity,” he added.
“Walmart has already promised $2,500 for next year,” he added. “This year we were able to select 20 children for the Shop With A Cop program. Donations from both Cadence Manufacturing and Walmart allowed us to increase the number of children served. We also used board members and representatives from Cadence in the selection process this year. It was amazing to hear everyone that helped with the selection process talk about how hard it was to pick.”
For young Isabella it was certainly a dream come true. She could have spent all the money on herself; yet she decided to also buy for her family.
“I commend the Cranston Police Department and our community partners for coming together and once again making the ‘Shop with a Cop’ program possible,” stated Mayor Allan Fung in a press release. “It brings smiles to children’s’ faces and offers them a positive message that we care about them as a city during this holiday season of giving. I’m proud that Cranston is a city where we unite to make the holidays brighter for the less fortunate, especially our children.”
The mayor and his wife, Barbara Ann Fenton also took a child, Adreyan Perez, shopping during the event along with Chief Winquest.