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LATROBE (KDKA) — It was just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday when dozens of police officers from all around Westmoreland County descended on the Walmart in Latrobe.
They weren’t there to chase bad guys; instead, they hoped to make some kids and families in need feel very good.
“It is the best part of my job being a state trooper. It is the best part, by far, the most fun I get to have,” said Tpr. Stephen Limani, of Pennsylvania State Police.
Tpr. Limani is the driving force and organizer of what has become a very popular Westmoreland County holiday tradition, “Shop With A Cop.”
“We’re going to hit six different Walmart locations in Westmoreland County, and take close to 300 kids shopping,” said Tpr. Limani as kids and cops shopped for everything from toys to clothes.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti Reports:
Many of the kids come from homes that have fallen on hard times. But you wouldn’t know it by looking around.
“The smiles on the kids’ faces, the smiles on the police officers faces. That’s the part that really gets me,” Tpr. Limani said.
A total of $50,000 in donations make this possible, including some from Anderson Varchetti, who donated more than $200 of his birthday money to the cause.
And it’s not just kids benefiting, it’s entire families.
Chelsea Bolish lost her little sister, 17-year-old Marissa Bolish, in a car accident in August, then in October, the family’s Derry Township home was destroyed in a fire. They lost everything.
“It’s warm, it’s a good feeling to see the other families that are also in need getting the help that we’re getting also, so it’s not just us,” Chelsea said.
This week, Shop With A Cop will visit six different Walmarts in Westmoreland County; and when it’s all said and done, some 300 kids will have “shopped with a cop.”