Logan was in high gear, but he stopped for a minute as Grain Valley police officer Darin Chance tallied the Christmas presents already in the shopping cart.
They had a $150 budget. Chance ticked off items and added.
We’re at $125.14, he said.
Logan didn’t miss a beat.
“OK, we gotta get going!” he blurted out.
Logan, 7, is a second grader at Stony Point Elementary. He and Chance were among 20 or so pairs of cops and kids – age 4 through the sixth grade – taking part in the Police Department’s first Shop with a Cop event.
The last full week before Christmas meant several “Shop With a Cop” or similar goodwill events around the metro area, including Eastern Jackson County.
Independence and Grain Valley police officers pushed around shopping carts with children on Thursday, while Independence firefighters hosted their first such event, dubbed “Stop, Drop and Shop With a Firefighter,” last Saturday. Blue Springs Police held their shopping event Dec. 9. Independence police hosted what is believed to be their largest “Shop With a Cop” event Thursday morning at Target in Independence, with more than 30 officers helping about 75 children buy Christmas gifts for their families and themselves. Each child had a $75 credit to spend.
Chick-fil-A had assisted in fundraising during the year, along with the Community Services League, which selected participating children, and IPD personnel donated almost $2,400 from their “Decem-beard” fundraiser – an extension of No-Shave November (female officers were allowed to wear jeans).
Kayla Taylor said her 8-year-old daughter Taylor and 5-year-old son Bradlee had a “great experience” at Target, adding that such an event is great for the community because it encourages interaction between officers and young children.
“It shows kids that cops really are nice,” Taylor said. “Sometimes they're intimidated by them.”
Independence firefighters hosted their first event at Walmart in Independence, partnering with 37 children identified by Independence Schools. Each child had $100 to spend, courtesy of fundraisers from Independence IAFF Local 781.
The Grain Valley event, held Thursday at Target in Blue Springs, also included officers from Buckner, Oak Grove, Lake Lotawana and Lone Jack. Police Chief Dave Starbuck said the department put the word out on social media and got a good response. Several sponsors stepped forward to help as well, as did Target, which offers aid through a corporate program and on Thursday night had the staff break room set up as a gift-wrapping station with hot chocolate and other treats.
The idea is to let the children shop for gifts they’ll give their families and perhaps throw in one or two for themselves.
Starbuck was paired with 8-year-old Jaxson Johnson, a second grader at Sni-A-Bar Elementary. Jaxson’s idea was to buy for another family, one he doesn’t even know.
Jaxson said he decided on that “because it’s the right thing to do.”