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Local officers aim to brighten spirits amid pandemic with annual 'Shop with a Cop'

Posted at 11:09 PM, Dec 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 11:22:04-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC26) -- Parents are typically the ones who buy gifts for their kids during the holidays. But this year, for children like Brianna Smith, it was the other way around.

"It just feels really right to give my family some love first," Suamico Elementary student Brianna Smith said.

"I feel amazing that I got presents for all of them," said Alysa Skenandore.

In it's 26th year, local elementary school students were chosen to 'Shop with a Cop.' They received a budget around 140 dollars each, so they could purchase gifts for their family during the holiday season.

"I was nervous and excited at the same time because I had never done this before," Smith said.

Parents could only stand by and watch as their kids shopped for the whole family.

"I kind of stood back a little bit and just let her have her list and let her just go off and grab whatever she felt that her siblings would be excited to receive," said Jen Jurecki, a parent of one the children.

And officers like Adam Winkler were happy to help the kids pick the gifts out.

"It brings smiles to our faces," he said. "It's just a little token of something we can give back to the community."

Local police say they thought about canceling 'Shop with a Cop' because of the pandemic.

'Covid-19 hasn't allowed us to do the things we normally do," Winkler said. "We're hoping to bring a little light at the end of the tunnel."

But they thought giving kids the opportunity to buy gifts was the best way to brighten holiday spirits.

"Even though we have masks on, just seeing the smile on her face, the excitement in her eyes, just feeling like she was doing something good for the family [was my favorite part]," Jurecki said about her daughter.

Elementary school students from around the area were picked by their counselors to participate in this year's 'Shop with a Cop.' Because of the pandemic, the kids did not eat breakfast or ride on a bus together like they did in previous years.