Kids 'Shop with a Cop' in Beaverton
Beaverton Police Department program helps outfit disadvantaged students for school year
Officer Jared Lutu is usually partnered up with a K-9, but even while shopping at the Beaverton Town Square Fred Meyer with 14-year-old Max, there was a little bit of friendly barking.
You guys like this ugly stuff, right? Lutu said with a wide smile, tugging on a shirt with a pocket that doesnt match the rest of the fabric.
Its called swag, retorted Max, an incoming Beaverton High School freshman looking for something that will go with his strategically ripped and faded jeans.
Lutu and Max were partners for the morning on Tuesday, during the Beaverton Police Department's second Shop with a Cop event, which gives disadvantaged kids a chance to pick out new clothes and shoes before heading back to school in a month.
Its hard nowadays, Lutu said. You dont have a lot of positive interaction with the public, and this is a good way to do that.
"This is a lot of fun," said Matt Cline, a school resource officer who this summer has spent time with Beaverton Police Activities League (PAL) members such as 11-year-old Julian, who shopped with Cline to get ready for middle school.
This year, 19 kids were selected by local partner agencies to shop with Beaverton officers. Each had $100 to $150 to spend, depending on grade level. Participating officers often pull out their own wallets to buy a bit more for their young partners.
Two of the kids shopping this year were 8-year-old siblings Luke and Leia, and young master Luke selected a Star Wars T-shirt befitting his namesake movie franchise but also scored a super-hero themed pair of Skechers shoes with help from Officer Ryan Potter.
My favorite color is green, Luke explained.
Ive got grade school-aged kids, said Sgt. Alan Juilfs, who was shopping with Leia. Its a fun opportunity to help these guys get ready for school.
All of the children were referred by two local family shelters, the Beaverton School Districts homeless program and the city-sponsored PAL.
Beavertons Shop with a Cop has nearly doubled in size since 11 kids shopped with officers last summer in its inaugural year, and Community Services Specialist Consuelo Star said she would like to double it again next year because there is plenty of need.
Thats the hardest part, she said. Its a matter of raising the funds.
City employees contributed $2,000 to the program this year through fundraisers and direct donations, Star said.
Fred Meyer hosted the event and provided backpacks filled with toiletry items, and also offered discounts to stretch donations further. Nothing Bundt Cakes, a nearby bakery, donated treats.
Lisa, a young teen, had arrived in a day earlier from Rwanda, where her mother is going to college.
She admitted to being a little bit scared about shopping with a police officer, something she couldnt imagine doing in her home country. But the incoming Beaverton High School student was quickly put at ease by Officer Jeff Gill, who is an alum of the school.
Its amazing, she said after choosing several pairs of pants and other clothing items. I was excited.