The kids were raring to go, some barely tall enough to see over the red shopping carts they would soon be loading with toys.
Suddenly, the sprawling Target store on Macdonald didn’t seem quite so big.
“No more pictures,” pleaded Jamonni Simon, a boisterous 9-year-old who strained to push his cart against a police officer who was letting kids go two at a time. “I need to go to the sports stuff!”
Moments later, Simon’s cart was screaming down the aisles.
About 40 local kids took home $110 worth of toys each from Target Saturday as part of the Richmond Police Department’s annual Shop with a Cop Christmas event. The event was funded by donations from the Richmond Police Officers Association, police command staff, the Crime Prevention Task force and individual officers. Target matched the $100 for each child with a 10 percent donation, and picked up the tab for the sales tax.
“This is a great event for the kids,” said Officer Larry Lewis, executive director of the Police Activities League, which organizes the event. “They are excited.”
The day began at 9 a.m. as children as young as 8-years-old gathered at the PAL Center with more than a dozen uniformed officers.
Lt. Lori Curran chatted with children about their shopping plans, and how they would make the trip to Target, which is about one mile east on Macdonald from the PAL Center.
“Who wants to ride in a police car?” she asked. Hands shot up.
The kids filed outside to the sidewalk, where a cluster of police cruisers and two limousines waited. The procession glided down Macdonald, with the cruisers flickering their sirens to the childrens’ delight.
Once at Target, the officers, children and other volunteers posed for pictures and readied for their shopping spree.
Once they descended on the store, they rushed through the aisles to grab their goodies. Simon went for the sporting goods section right away.
Other kids went straight to the video games. Others sought new clothes.
“It’s a great event that I am happy to be a part of,” Curran said.