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NORTH VERSAILLES (KDKA) — Santa’s helpers were busy Monday morning in North Versailles where children and families in need got the chance to shop with some local law enforcement officers.

Santa himself even showed up at the event. He left his sleigh at the North Pole, though, opting to arrive by motorcycle. He was there to help kick off the “Shop With A Cop” program.

motorcycle santa Working For Hugs And High Fives: Officers Become Santas Helpers At Annual Shopping Event

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“To see the kids’ faces, to bond with them… they normally see police officers in a car driving by and sometimes in unfortunate situations,” Deputy Sheriff Jason Tarap said. “Today, these kids are going to have an opportunity to see an officer one-on-one and work with officers going shopping. When they wake up [on] Christmas, they’re gonna know Santa’s helpers dress in all kinds of uniforms.”

Deputies from the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office were there to help local children and families shop at the Walmart Supercenter.

“It’s just a huge privilege to be able to give back to the community,” Tarap said.

Close to 100 children were there for this special event, and no one was turned away.

“A lot of these kids aren’t getting stuff for themselves, they’re getting it for their sister, their brother, their parents, and they’re trying to learn how to give back,” Walmart market manager Tony Dattilio said.

north versailles shop with a cop Working For Hugs And High Fives: Officers Become Santas Helpers At Annual Shopping Event

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Paul Spradley)

Deputies say many of these families have been through unimaginable grief and tragedy.

“With that heavy heart, there’s nothing I can do to stop that, but by giving them a toy, giving them a warm Christmas, having something for them, maybe it helps a little bit,” Tarap said. “It’s never gonna lessen the pain, but it helps a little bit.”

“It means a lot to me, especially in hard times. I just had another baby,” mother Julia Feeney said.

From the families helped to those lending a helping hand, it was a special day for everyone involved.

“We’re working for hugs and high fives today,” Tarap said.

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