KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Riverside police officers and firefighters are playing Santa to nearly 30 needy kids this year.
Waking up Christmas morning without a present under the tree is an unfortunate reality for many children in the Kansas City metro, but with the help of the seventh annual ‘Shop With a Cop,’ this year will be different for some in Riverside.
"There's a lot of times we see bad and this is one of the times we can share in the good as police officers and firefighters," said Sergeant Brent Holland with the Riverside Police Department.
Riverside students who were selected to participate in the program were able to fill up a shopping cart for free.
Trish McGilton, who is the mother of two children, said she did not think she would be able to afford any presents to put under her tree this year. She said it was a huge relief when her 12-year-old son and her 16-year-old daughter were chosen to participate in this year’s ‘Shop With a Cop.’
"They weren't going to have Christmas, so, they weren't, there's no way, you can't make it come out of the air," said McGilton of her family’s situation. "I'm a single mom, I can't do it all. So, Christmas is much more merry and bright now.”
But Sgt. Holland said these kids that participated were not just shopping for themselves.
"You know surprisingly most of the children we go shopping with, they're not concerned about themselves, they're looking out for other people so it's kind of uplifting," said Sgt. Holland.
Firefighters and police officers said the children are more focused on giving rather than getting, in the true spirit of the season.
The Riverside Fire and Police Athletic League raises funds year round for this event.