AUSTIN, Texas - Members of Amigos en Azul hosted the 20th annual Shop with a Cop event at the Capital Plaza Target. Officers weren't able to directly shop with the kids because of the ongoing pandemic, but they were able to come in, get a gift card, and decide if they wanted to shop then or later on.
This year, roughly 60 children from Barrington and Pickle Elementary Schools were chosen to participate. "To see their faces just be really happy that they're able to do this, that is what this is all about," said APD Chief Chacon.
Angel is a second-grader at Barrington Elementary, he came Saturday morning with his grandma. "I didn't know anything about it. They just called my daughter and I guess he got the gold ticket," his grandma said.
During the holidays, Amigos en Azul provides disadvantaged students from area elementary schools the opportunity to shop for themselves or their family members. Angel is one of 150 students from Austin ISD who was chosen to participate in this year's event.
"The Shop with a Cop event is officers interacting with the younger community, the elementary school kids, and creating that relationship at a young age," Cpl. Marcelino Gamboa explained.
This year was the most children that Amigos en Azul was able to help. "This year we have a total of 5 schools and 150 kids, and that's the most we've ever had," Chief Chacon said. "So we're hoping we can beat that next year."
Next weekend, the Austin Police Department is holding its annual Blue Santa event. This year, the operation is working to ensure approximately 15,000 children will receive gifts this holiday season, as well as food cards for around 5,000 families.
APD's Operation Blue Santa working to provide gifts to around 15K children