BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — A group of 30 students from the Blue Springs School District got to Shop With A Cop on Saturday, but they weren't shopping for themselves.
The students were shopping for a family members, a tradition that started nine years ago as the Blue Springs Police Department searched for ways to give back during the holidays.
The Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association in Blue Springs raises money throughout the year to provide this opportunity. Each child is given $150 and shops until they drop with the help of an officer.
The morning started with donuts as the shoppers and officers got to know one another. Aftrerward, they shuttled over to Target, lists in hand, and hit the aisles.
Officers were impressed with how prepared the students were.
"The kids definitely don't get enough credit, because they are always eager to shop for everyone else and they always have a plan every year," Officer Jacoba Jacobson said.
From finding the right toy for their sibling to the perfect pair of slippers for grandma, the kids were buying all kinds of gifts.
Blue Springs PD Chief Robert Muenz said it's nice to see something so positive happen in the community.
"We see so many bad things all the time, so this is good," he said. "They give us energy and you see a positive thing and it's a chance to help out and volunteer."
All the students were finished shopping within 45 minutes and headed back to a waiting bus to wrap their gifts with an officer.
While the shopping experience might be over, organizers hope this day left an lasting impression.
"Without this kind of opportunity and the blending of the community with the police officers, they don't have that opportunity to have that one-on-one relationship," Citizens Police Academy of Blue Springs President Kevin Hornick said. "This fosters long, long relationships."
Volunteers shopped at a separate time for the students selected to Shop With A Cop.