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Shop-With-A-Cop, toy drive bring holiday joy to children

For the 10th year, public safety officials, Gresham Optimists host shopping trips, toy drive

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: JUDITH HILLEND - Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton shops with an East County girl during a previous event.

‘Tis the season to give!

Holiday budgets are tight this season, and many East County parents would love to shower their children with gifts and toys, but can’t afford to.

This December, local law enforcement are stepping up to help.

Over the past decade, East County children in need have had their holidays brightened by police officers and firefighters during the annual Shop-With-A-Cop Christmas Shopping Trip.

Sponsored by the Gresham Optimist Club, the Gresham event is funded by Gresham Police and Fire along with Fred Meyer of Gresham.

Twelve East County children are paired up with a Gresham police officer or firefighter and receive $100 each to shop for themselves or their families. The event takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

“It’s one of the most rewarding things to watch,” said Judith Hillend, secretary and treasurer of the Gresham Optimist Club. “You see kids thinking of their siblings, grandmothers, moms and dads — embracing the idea of gift giving.”

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, another shopping spree will take place with 10 East County children at the Fairview Target store. Each child will be paired with a Fairview police officer or Multnomah County deputy and receive $100 to shop, donated by Fairview Police and Target.

Children are chosen by the Gresham Salvation Army. After finishing their shopping, deputies, officers, children and volunteers are treated to lunch by Burgerville locations on Southeast Hogan Drive in Gresham and 162nd and Division.

Cops collect toys at Wal-Mart

As part of their annual toy drive, the Troutdale Police Department and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office are teaming with the city of Troutdale’s Safety Advisory Committee to help collect toys for SnowCap of East County to distribute to children.

The toy drive also is focusing on collecting gifts for teenage children, a group often overlooked during holiday distribution efforts, said Lt. Steve Alexander, sheriff’s office spokesman.

Toys will be handed out to children and youths through 18 years of age, Alexander said.

Officers will collect unwrapped, new toys inside the Wood Village Wal-Mart store from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 15.

“We’ve been doing a toy drive for 11 years,” said Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson.

He said the Wood Village Wal-Mart has supported the drive to collect gifts for children for the past five years.

“We just feel the need is very great out here in East County,” Anderson said.

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