There was quite the scene of Sheriff Vehicles, K9 units, and a S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) truck that lined the entrance of Kohl’s Department Store for the Fifth Annual “Shop with a Cop” event on Thursday, Dec. 19 in Riverbank.
The presence of the officers captured many shoppers’ attention as they entered the store with a look of bewilderment on their faces, wondering why there was such a police response. It was all for a good cause, as youngsters in need were inside picking up some needed items.
The store was not only busy with Christmas shoppers but there were approximately 38 boys and girls that were selected to join a deputy on a shopping spree at Kohl’s.
The program was set up to help children that are less fortunate during the holiday season. The event is funded through donations from local businesses, private parties, and several entities within the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
The fortuitous children throughout the community are nominated by churches, the food bank, local leaders or a Deputy that may have seen a need. The selected youngsters are then picked up from their homes by a Sheriff’s Deputy and driven to Kohl’s for the shopping celebration.
Stanislaus Sheriff S.W.A.T. Officer Gregg Buck had a little shopper named Javier Roa that was loading up on some new threads and having a really good time doing it.
Buck was looking through the shelf of jeans for Roa’s correct size while other officers were at the dressing room standing by while their youngsters got the right fit.
Four-year-old Lolo Argumedo had two helpers; a 911 dispatcher, Jennifer Hoyt and Deputy Jesus Sigala. Argumedo had a cart full of clothes and a Batman shirt that he was really excited about.
Several deputies came from the main office in Modesto to lend a hand and other deputies from Riverbank Police Services have been participating in the event for the past few years.
“This is a positive experience for the kids and it lets them know we are here to help and that we are the good guys,” said Sheriff Adam Christianson. “I am very proud of the department and what they do for this program.”
The wait at the register for the “Shop with a Cop” participants was long and the bags that were being placed on the counter were full.
During check out at one stand, Kohl’s manager Jeniece Kibby turned around to Deputy Gary Vernon and shouted out that he had been selected for the Dream Receipt Sweepstakes. Applause and hugs followed the announcement.
From Nov. 23 through Dec. 24, Kohl’s offered a Dream Receipt Sweepstakes that occurred once a day every day at a random time where one customer would be selected to have Kohl’s pay the tab for the full amount of their purchases.
Vernon was the lucky customer on Thursday, Dec. 19 and his bill of $1,187 was paid in full by Kohl’s Department Store.
“This program is possible due to all the donations by different groups that come together for the kids so it is really great to have been selected for the dream receipt,” said Vernon.
After the shopping event the children and their families were invited to a holiday party where Round Table Pizza was provided for dinner at the Riverbank Community Center for all the guests.
Santa and Mrs. Claus stopped by the community center to greet the kids as well and take pictures with them which were printed out and available. The kids were also given wrapped presents and other treats.
The “Shop with a Cop” program and the holiday party was possible due to the following businesses and individuals: Kohl’s Department Store, The Home Depot, Round Table Pizza, Save Mart Supermarket, Target, Coke, Starbucks, Rai’s Sporting Goods, Richard O’Brien, Robert and Carol Sojka, the Rotary Club, First Missionary Baptist Church, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Employee Foundation, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Sworn Deputies Association, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Air Support Association, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Supervisors Association, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s K-9, and Stanislaus County Sheriff’s S.W.A.T.
Nine-year-old Leo Dye was selected for the program and his grandmother Patricia Voss-Dobbs expressed how amazing the program is.
“I like to see the police getting involved in such a positive light,” said Voss-Dobbs. “Some of these children don’t see the positive so it is very exciting.”