'Share some happiness and joy' The Cranston YMCA and the Cranston Police Department partnered once again to build community and lend a hand during the holiday season through the fifth annual Shop with a Cop event this past weekend. Like everything else
The Cranston YMCA and the Cranston Police Department partnered once again to build community and lend a hand during the holiday season through the fifth annual Shop with a Cop event this past weekend.
Like everything else this year, the event has been impacted by COVID, but the officers and children got together via Zoom on Saturday, Dec. 12, for a meet-and-greet and question-and-answer session followed by gift card deliveries right to the children’s homes.
This year in particular, organizers selected families that have been personally impacted by COVID, whether it be through sickness, financial strain or even mental-emotional struggles with everything from distance learning to missing friends and family. Twenty children were selected and many had their siblings join in on the Zoom as well. In addition to participating on the Zoom, which featured a demonstration from the K9 unit, each child received an Amazon gift card to help with gifts for the holiday season.
“This is one of our favorite events of the year and we are so grateful to Matt Kite, Chief Winquist and all of our officers for their continued partnership, said Andrea Champagne, executive director of the Cranston YMCA. “We knew we could find a way to pull this off and keep everyone safe. Our families need it this year more than ever. In addition to the help buying Christmas gifts, our kids need something fun to look forward to when so much has been cancelled or postponed.”
Through their partnership with the Cranston Health Equity Zone, the Cranston Y was able to use federal CARES Act funding to purchase the gift cards.
“One highlight that we at the Cranston Police Department always look forward to each year is the Shop with a Cop event in cooperation with our local Cranston YMCA,” Chief of Police Col. Michael Winquist said. “With this year being emotionally and physically challenging to so many of our community members, we wanted to make sure that this event continued, regardless of the obstacles. By conducting the event virtually, we can continue the tradition and hopefully share some happiness and joy with these families while ensuring that everyone remains protected. This event means so much to us, and we hope that everyone involved has a safe and healthy holiday season. We want to thank the Cranston YMCA for making this possible and the Cranston Health Equity Zone for their generosity in sharing the funding.”
(Herald photos by Steve Popiel)