The Shop With A Cop of Indian River County event was Saturday, December 18, 2021, at the Vero Beach Walmart. It was a huge success, with six participating agencies and 150 children who received a $100 shopping spree at Walmart.
This event would not be possible if not for the generous donations of local community businesses and partners, who provided $15,000 this year.
“Based upon our funding and donation amounts, we had to limit the number of children to 150 this year. So going through hundreds of applications and having to narrow the list down was a very painstaking process because obviously, we wanted to include them all. So we finally picked the 150, and the ones chosen were thrilled to hear they would be part of Shop with a Cop,” Sergeant Todd Finnegan of Sebastian Police Department told Sebastian Daily.
These law enforcement officers are helping make the children of Indian River County a bit happier during the Christmas season.
“When our north county kids showed up for registration at our City Hall Saturday morning, they had huge smiles on their faces. We did our police escort to Vero Walmart, and they had an amazing and fun time picking out the gifts they wanted,” Sergeant Finnegan stated.
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Once the children entered Walmart, with their LEO’s in tow, they were greeted by lines of cheering associates who provided candy canes and smiles. The day concluded with cookies and drinks before boarding the bus for their return home.
“After bringing them back to our city hall for them to be picked up, their parents were very appreciative of us doing this. It is one of my favorite events of the year, especially knowing we are able to help some of these families that are struggling financially around the holidays, Sergeant Finnegan added.
This annual event consists of local and statewide law enforcement participation, including the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Sebastian Police Department, Vero Beach Police Department, Fellsmere Police Department, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Transportation was provided courtesy of the School District of Indian River County, who transported the children to the Vero Beach Walmart and the IRC Go Line, which transported participants from Fellsmere.