RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Dozens of area children are getting a special treat today: the chance to "Shop with a Cop". This event outfits children in need with new clothes and shoes for school, but police officers say the day does so much more.
Richmond police officers worked to identify young people in their precincts who would benefit from the opportunity to spend a couple of hours here shopping with an officer.
Each year, Richmond Police partners with the YMCA Bright Beginnings program to provide volunteers to take young people shopping at a local Target store. This shopping trip was sponsored by Altria Group Incorporated. The day starts early as Richmond police officers pick up the children from their homes. They then take them to the store, help them shop and make sure they return back home safely.
"We go and we shop just like I have kids at home, and it's always a great experience because they pick out their own clothes and school supplies. Its things that they might not have been able to get without the help and support," said Richmond Police Lt. Angela Greene.
But this event is about a whole lot more than just outfitting kids in new clothes for school. Richmond police officers say this is a chance for them to build long-lasting relationships.
"We get them at an early age and they see that we are not the bad guys, we are the good guys and we are here to help them and we love fostering that relationship with them and they trust us," said Greene.
And it's working. Children we spoke with say this is a day they won't soon forget.
This shopping excursion is just one of many that have been going on for the past several weeks through the YMCA Bright Beginnings program. By the time school starts, about 2500 local children in need will have brand new supplies.