KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than 200 children from across Kansas City received dozens of Christmas gifts Wednesday and made new friends — police officers — in the process at Ward Parkway Shopping Center.
Members of the Kansas City, Missouri, Fraternal Order of Police spent the evening picking out toys with kids as part of its annual Shop with A Cop event.
They teamed up with the Kansas City, Kansas, Fraternal Order of Police and also partnered with local churches, schools and neighborhood associations to find children with the greatest need to participate.
J-air Thomas, 5, was one of the lucky kids chosen.
"I wasn't able to get him anything this year, so this is kind of a new start this year," his mother, Beverly Thomas, said. "He's still going to have Christmas."
Each child was able to pick out gifts totaling $100. The money to pay for the gifts comes from donors, including The McDonald's Great Plains Co-Op.
"Some of these kids are coming from areas where their experiences with us haven't always been the most positive," KCPD officer Justin Kirmse said.
He hopes the event will help change offer hope for the kids and their families as well as leave a positive impression of law enforcement.
"A lot of times, it helps them make better decisions growing up, so we may not always have to deal with things that end up bad," Kirmse said. "I might see him later on and he'll remember me from this."