‘Shop with a Cop’ event on Dec. 10 to pair 150 underprivileged youngsters with Sarasota Police officers

Donations for Target gift cards welcome

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

This year, the Sarasota Housing Authority will pair 150 children that it serves in the community with local law enforcement officers “to shop for holiday gifts at a local Target store,” a news release explains.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Target standing at 5350 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, the release notes. The hours are 6 to 8 a.m.

“This special event showcases SHA’s commitment to providing positive, uplifting experiences for our youth while promoting mutual respect with our Sarasota Police partner,” 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 in the release.

“Shop with a Cop is an annual event both sworn and civilian members of our agency are humbled to volunteer at,” said Sarasota Police Chief Rex Troche in the release. “We’ve partnered with the Sarasota Housing Authority for more than a decade to foster strong relationships with children in our community. We’re looking forward to another year of building relationships with local children and their families, especially during the holidays at this special shopping event,” Troche added in the release.

The Sarasota Housing Authority raises more than $15,000 for this event through its 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Sarasota Housing Funding Corp., the release explains. “This year’s event was made possible through donations by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Communities Unified, Target, First Horizon Foundation, Gary Dornbush, United Universalist Social Justice Committee, and other private donors, the release notes.

Charlie Hugill and Aubrey Robbins, two sophomores who established their own charity, Communities Unified, said in a statement, “We are excited to help give kids the experience to interact and shop with the Sarasota law enforcement during the holiday season. When we founded Communities Unified, these were the exact type of events we wanted to be involved with.”

Officers use donated Target gift cards when they check out of the store with the children, the release adds. Residents wishing to donate cards may do so through the Sarasota Housing Funding Corp., the release points out. Checks may be made payable to the Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation with “Shop with a Cop” in the memo line.

Checks or cash donations may be dropped off at the Sarasota Housing Authority, which is located at 269 S. Osprey Ave. in Sarasota.