WARREN — On Dec. 10, 35 local kids went shopping with police officers by their sides. With $100 gift cards in their hands, the kids walked the aisles at Meijer, looking for those perfect gifts for special people on their Christmas lists, and maybe something wonderful for themselves.
“It was heartwarming to see,” said Warren Police officer Michael Lake, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Christopher M. Wouters Lodge 124, representing about 500 active and retired Warren and Center Line officers. “Most of them, honestly, selected gifts for family: brothers, sisters, Mother, Dad. A few obviously went crazy and got things for themselves. These truly were deserving families, as well as the kids.”
Lake said the lodge’s Cops and Kids event, started by the national FOP and previously called Shop With a Cop, was one of the largest they’ve had thus far.
Meijer hosted the event and donated $2,500 to help give 35 kids $100 gift cards. The lodge kicked in the rest, and its members took time out of their schedules to shop in uniform with the kids and help to build a special bond.
Lake said the event was organized by the local FOP lodge but supported by the Warren Police Department and the Center Line Department of Public Safety. He said the Chicken Shack store at 11 Mile and Schoenherr roads donated food for the parents, who dined in the break room at Meijer while the children shopped with cops.
The kids who participated this year were selected with the help of the Warren Police Chaplain Corps.
“The chaplains really helped make this event one of the biggest and best yet,” Lake said. “They took an active role in this.”
Pastor William Farina of Warren’s Bethel Christian Church, one of three Warren police chaplains, said chaplains received information about kids and families in need through various ministries at work in the community. Farina, in turn, credited the officers who gave their time to bring happiness to a group of kids this Christmas.
“Obviously, they’re the good guys. They’re positive role models for these kids,” Farina said. “We’re glad to help.”
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