A Westminster tradition bringing gifts and necessities to local families in need is bigger than ever for its 15th year.
Wednesday morning, Nov. 21, Shop With A Cop in Westminster began with the unveiling of the “Angel Tree” at Walmart in Westminster.
The tree started out covered in more than 300 paper ornaments, each listing a needed item identified by the Shop With A Cop families. Throughout the season, as shoppers make their way through the store, they may purchase one of the items and leave it in the collection box beneath the tree.
“Last year, through the selfless and anonymous generosity of our community, more than 300 holiday gifts were donated through this Angel tree process and we’re hoping here that we’ll get a similar amount of support,” said Chief Jeff Spaulding.
The Westminster Police Department and members of the Walmart team will collect, wrap and present the gifts to the “Shop With A Cop” families prior to the holidays.
Store Manger Pete Perez was attending his third unveiling Wednesday morning, but the shopping day is the real fun, he said.
“I’ve gone every year, and every year that I’ve gone it’s been amazing,” he said. “Just the looks on their faces. ... The parents just — they’re overwhelmed and the you can see the emotion on their faces just how much they’re impacted by this,”
Perez presented Spaulding with a $2,500 check from Walmart to start the season of giving for Shop With A Cop. Spaulding said that without the support from Walmart, Koons Toyota,other sponsors and donations from the community, the program would not be possible.
“Local families experiencing economic hardships are often unable to provide their children with a holiday celebration. The ‘Shop With A Cop’ program provides these deserving children with the means to shop with a member of the Westminster Police Department for gifts for their family members,” according to a news release from the Westminster Police Department.
Local law enforcement and families will meet on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 8 a.m. at the Westminster Walmart for the main event where kids will get breakfast and shop in the store before attending a holiday party in the afternoon.