LONG BEACH — In between sips of orange juice, eight-year-old Christopher Gorsham told Pacific County Sheriff officer Ben Woodby about Minecraft, his favorite game.
It was a simple step toward fostering a better future.
Gorsham and Woodby were one of several pairs participating Saturday, Dec. 1 during the Shop With a Cop event in Long Beach, an annual event aimed at building a positive relationships between local youth and law enforcement while allowing kids to purchase presents for themselves and family.
Kids pick presents
After a morning breakfast at The Lost Roo, kids rode in the squad cars and used the siren and speaker PA systems to announce holiday greetings throughout town on their way to Dennis Company, where Santa greeted them at the door and a shopping spree awaited. The toy aisle was a popular destination, particularly for Hatchimal robotic toys, LEGO sets and stuffed animals. Some kids headed to the pet section to pick out toys for their four-legged companions.
One boy, with assistance from Washington State Parks Ranger David Linthakhan, picked out a fishing rod, reel and the necessary tackle.
Ethan Hayes, 8, picked out a basket full of gifts, but it was a Timex watch that had him grinning ear to ear.
“It’s gold,” Hayes whispered as he lifted his wrist to show his new watch, one item he couldn’t wait to show his classmates. Overall, it was a successful event now nearing it’s 10th year.
“This year we had more than 16 kids and over 20 cops,” said volunteer Keleigh Schwartz. “I want to say this is our ninth year. We just love it, it’s so much fun.”
Schwartz was one of several local Rotarians wrapping gifts in the back room of Dennis Company after the shopping spree. Schwartz credited Long Beach Assistant Police Chief Casey Meling with helping “get the cops lined up” and Jamie Meling with getting permission for school students to participate.
The event is organized by the Rotary Club of Long Beach with donations from Dennis Company, The Lost Roo and the Bank of the Pacific.