Christmas came early for 12 Goodyear youths who spent their morning Saturday, Dec. 12, with police officers and Santa Claus during Goodyear Police Department’s 20th annual Shop with a Cop.
While the children, ages 5 to 13, enjoyed breakfast with their officer, the jolly old elf and Mrs. Claus boarded a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit helicopter bound for the Goodyear Municipal Complex off West Van Buren Street.
Rumor had it MCSO had to step in because Santa’s sleigh is in the shop, and Rudolph and the rest of Santa’s reindeer are resting up for Christmas Eve.
Once Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived, wearing red masks matching their outfits, they mingled with masked children and officers at a safe distance. Several Goodyear City Council members also were on hand for the festivities.
“Each child received a generous gift card donated by PebbleCreek Home Tour Group and got their picture taken with Santa and their officer,” Public Information Officer Lisa Berry said. “Then, the police caravan led by the SWAT vehicle carrying Santa, and led by the helicopter, drove lights and sirens to Target” at 1515 N. Litchfield Road in Goodyear for the shopping spree.
“What great kids! One little boy had a cart full of various toys that he said he planned to donate to others,” said Ms. Berry, who served as event photographer along with Management Assistant Cathy Frost.
After checking out, the shoppers enjoyed a complimentary drink from Starbucks.
The annual shopping spree is one of the department’s favorite events of the year, Ms. Berry said.
Each child who participated attends school in Goodyear and was nominated by their school’s faculty/staff based on financial need, high academic standards and character.
In addition to the PebbleCreek Home Tour Group and Target, event donors included Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Hampton Inn.
Because of the pandemic, the event was smaller than usual, but officers didn’t let that deter them.
“This has been an especially difficult year for so many, but we didn’t want to let the pandemic steal Christmas from these special children. Shop with a Cop is always a heart-warming event and one that the members of the police department look forward to each year,” Goodyear Police Chief Santiago “Jimmy” Rodriquez said.
Ms. Berry agreed.
“Oh my goodness, Saturday was so amazing!! This event pulls at my heartstrings every year and I feel so blessed to participate!” she said.
To view videos from the day, including the fly-in and caravan, visit @GoodyearPolice on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.