More than 70 children got an extra special Christmas, the chance to shop and pick out Christmas gifts with Lake Wales Police officers and volunteers from the Police Officers Association (POA). The 13th annual Shop with a Cop event was held on Dec. 16 at Walmart.
“We focus on spending quality time with the kids,” said Chief of Police Christopher Velasquez. The POA partners with schools and the Lake Wales Care Center to identify children that may benefit from the event. “What’s special, is that we include the siblings of the eligible children. It’s great for the families,” said Ed Palmer, Community Liaison Officer.
POA fundraising money and donors finance the event. This year, many residents and businesses gave money for the event. Judi Glade, Executive Assistant to Chief Velasquez secured a $2,500 grant from Walmart. It provided holiday meals for the families. “This event is just as good for the police officers, and businesses, as it is for the community. It’s rewarding for us to reach out and make a difference,” said Chief Velasquez.
The City of Lake Wales Police Officers Association thanks community donors, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Dyer Chevrolet, Oak Harbor Title Services, Lake Wales Kiwanis, Mayer Jewelers, Marion Nelson Funeral Home, Freedom Church, Charles Schmidt, Michael Matthews, Harry Monti, Century 21, and Lake Wales Moose Lodge.