MOSES LAKE — The Mattawa Police Department teamed with members of the community to hold its first annual Shop with a Cop event Saturday, Dec. 22 at the Moses Lake Walmart, bringing in children and families experiencing financial difficulties to shop for presents and a full Christmas dinner.
Mattawa Police Chief Joe Harris said that despite a late start with fundraising, the Mattawa community rapidly kicked into gear with enough funds to give 12 children a shopping spree through the toy aisle and give three families $100 for Christmas dinner and groceries.
“It’s really cool to see the community come together like that,” Harris said.
The event serves as an opportunity for law enforcement officers to develop positive relationships with the families with financial need. Those families were referred to the police department by their schools and other members of the community who thought they were in need of a little help this holiday season.
Local resident and co-organizer Tony Acosta said that families that weren’t benefiting from other charitable programs were prioritized, ensuring the program helped those most in need.
First, cops and kids got to know each other over a slice of pizza from Mattawa cafe and diner Tiddaly Diddalys before driving together to Moses Lake.
Officers then paired with children in the community to stroll up and down the aisles of the Moses Lake Walmart, filling their carts with toys, gadgets and new clothes. The presents were then wrapped at a station provided by Walmart.
Acosta, who brought the idea forward to the local police department, also assisted in soliciting donations from the community. Donations were also made by Corvid Coffee in Mattawa, which contributed 50 cents for every customer during the preceding week, said owner Amanda Rivera.
Harris, happy with the success of Mattawa’s Shop with a Cop, expects it will only be the first of many.
“The second one is going to be great,” Harris said.