Philadelphia police hold annual 'Shop With a Cop' event at Walmart in South Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On Saturday, 20 children got to shop with a cop in South Philadelphia. Filling up their carts with all kinds of toys and getting to meet Santa at the Walmart on Columbus Boulevard.

Families had around two hours to spend several hundred dollars.

"It's overwhelming," said Ebony Hite, a mother of four that shopped Saturday.

The event also meant a lot for Philadelphia police officers, who hope this event, named for retired 12th district officer Joe Young, will improve community relations.

"For me, this is special," said Young.

Seeing their children grab a toy off the shelf meant a lot more for families this year, as there's an additional financial burden amid the pandemic.

"We're already knocked down by COVID-19...when you have another blow, it's special to be able to soften the blow," said Inspector Altovise Love-Craighead.

Love-Craighead says Saturday's event reminded her of shopping with her mother when she was a child.

Ebony Perry, a single mother, works three jobs and says she recently was carjacked, and all her children's Christmas presents inside the car were gone.

She says shopping with officers Saturday has been priceless.

"Some people think the cops don't always help, they're grateful, like I'm thankful, to have anyone to help me, but they were like there for me today," said Perry.
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