HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – In Westmoreland County, hundreds of kids will again see gifts under the tree this year thanks to the Shop With a Cop program.
The yearly Christmas shopping spree for at-risk kids with local law enforcement got underway Monday morning at Walmart.
“It’s like Christmas for me. This is awesome. I love kids, I have so much fun, I’m a little kid myself,” said officer Jillian Miller with the Cal U Police Department.
Officer Miller’s duty: provide police escort in the aisle and bring smiles to the kids and families getting the goods for Christmas morning.
“It means everything to my family,” said mom Stephanie Talton.
Like many, Talton lost her job recently. Money for Christmas gifts was non-existent but Shop With a Cop got word.
“These cops are here to help and they love these kids and they love their community,” she said.
A toy dump truck is every kid’s dream, but they aren’t cheap. However, according to Trooper Steve Limani, they were able to get $90,000 together to buy kids toys.
“It was nothing short of a Christmas miracle,” said Limani.
Shop With a Cop doesn’t happen without its organizer Limani and Walmart.
“It really is heartwarming, especially after this year and everything that’s happened with families not being able to be together. It’s been a tough one,” said Carol Williams with Walmart.
That it has, but in the eyes of a child, it all disappears when in the toy aisle. And interestingly enough, a lot of the kids wanted to buy gifts for everyone but themselves. One kid KDKA talked to said he had gotten something for his little brother and his older sister.
Monday was fun for kids, for some very big kids and for the humble not-so-secret Santa named Steve.
“I’m lucky. I’m just the luckiest guy walking,” said Limani.