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Photos: Plymouth Kids Shop With a Cop

About 10 children and a dozen Plymouth Police officers took to Target for some holiday shopping Dec. 8.

Nakila Fernandez eyed the Barbie gift set she had just brought to the Target checkout lane.

It was quite the package.

"There's Ken, there's Barbie, and you know, they're married," Nakila said. 

With her, Plymouth Police Officer Jon Goldenman continued to put the rest of the toys and items they had picked out for her and her family on the conveyer belt.

Nakila was one of around 10 children who participated in the program Shop with a Cop on Dec. 8 with about a dozen Plymouth Police officers. 

The program provides kids whose families are going through challenging times to do some holiday shopping for free thanks to a partnership and funding from the Plymouth Rotary and the Plymouth Police Department. 

Children--elementary and middle school ages--were paired up with different Plymouth police officers and bought items for themselves and many, without prompting, purchased items for several family members as well.

The shopping is made possible from a $1,000 donation that the Plymouth Police Department received last April from the Plymouth Rotary Club, according to Community Relations Officer Jim Long. Long worked on having the Plymouth Police Department become a part of the Shop with a Cop program for the first time this year.

Ten children were identified by two social agencies that serve Plymouth -- People Responding to Social Faith Ministry (PRISM) and Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners. 

Each child got a $100 gift card to spend. Once the teams of two checked out, Target employees helped them wrap up the gifts.

“It is activities such as this that really help to build positive interactions with the department,” said Plymouth Police Chief Mike Goldstein. "This is also rewarding for our officers who are volunteering their time to shop with them."

Goldstein said the coolest part was seeing the generosity of the children shopping who wanted to pick out items for other members of their family without anyone guiding or telling them to do so.

Officer Lisa Kurz said that funny enough, the many of the girls in the group finished shopping first. "They had a plan and a list," she said. "They knew what they were hoping to get and picked things out right away."

When the shopping and wrapping was done, there were refreshments and doughnuts available and many smiles to go around. 

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