Dec. 9 the date for ‘Shop with a Cop’ event at Target

Program a partnership of Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota Housing Authority, Target and Sarasota County Area Transit

These are the 2022 Shop with a Cop participants in Sarasota. Contributed photo

The Sarasota Police Department, the Sarasota Housing Authority, Target, and Sarasota County Area Transit “are partnering to provide 150 underprivileged children with a unique opportunity to literally ‘Shop with a Cop’ for holiday gifts in Sarasota,” the Sarasota Police Department has announced.

This year, the Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) will pair 150 local children they are serving with local law enforcement officers to shop for holiday gifts at a local Target store, a news release explains. The event will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, from 6 to 8 a.m. at the Target standing at 5350 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, the release adds.

“This special event showcases SHA’s commitment to providing positive, uplifting experiences for our youth while promoting mutual respect with our Sarasota Police partners,” said Sarasota Housing Authority CEO William Russell in the release. “Many of our kids who have participated in past events reminisce about what a positive experience it was to shop with and get to know SPD officers,” he added.

“Shop with a Cop is one of our favorite community events that we look forward to every year,” said Police Chief Rex Troche in the release. “It is moments like this when our officers and civilian employees can build strong relationships with the children in our community. We are grateful to be in a position where we can help make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful for Sarasota families.”

The SHA raises more than $15,000 for this event through its 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Sarasota Housing Funding Corp., the release points out. This year’s Shop with a Cop was made possible through donations by Communities Unified, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Target, First Horizon Foundation, and other private donors, the release adds.

Among the latter, the release continues, Charlie Hugill and Aubrey Robbins, two high school seniors who, as sophomores, founded their charity Communities Unified, offered this statement in the release: “We are super excited to be a part of this event for the third year in a row. We are so glad our organization can donate its time and resources to such a wonderful cause and provide for Shop With a Cop. We are happy to be a part of a program that builds relationships between the community and law enforcement, and we look forward to seeing the children each holiday season.”

Donations pay for Target gift cards, which officers will use at checkout for each of the children, the release notes.

Those wishing to donate to the 2023 Shop with a Cop may do so through the SHA’s 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation (SHFC), the release says. Checks should be made payable to Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation with “Shop with a Cop” in the memo line, the release adds. Checks or cash donations may be dropped off at the Sarasota Housing Authority, which is located at 269 S. Osprey Ave. in Sarasota.

For more information, contact the Sarasota Housing Authority at 941-361-6210.