The annual Crime Alert Berks County holiday Shop-with-a-Cop returned to Boscov’s North in Muhlenberg Township Thursday, Dec. 13.
Twenty-five fourth- and fifth-grade students from 20 different Berks public and parochial schools were selected to participate. They each received a $100 Boscov’s gift card to buy gifts for their family members. An equal contingent of police officers from departments covering the students’ school districts and members of the Berks County Sheriff’s Department were on hand to accompany and assist the children in the gift selection process. Wyomissing Police Chief Jeffrey Biehl recruited the law enforcement officers.
Volunteers from the United Way of Berks County also assisted this year.
“We value this opportunity every year to help children fulfill their Christmas wish lists for their families,” said Rick Periandi, president of Crime Alert Berks County. “This gives each child the chance to experience the joy of giving, so important at this time of year, as well as to understand that police officers are kind and are always there to provide a helping hand.”
The arrival of Santa Claus at 6:01 p.m. sharp on a Goodwill Fire Company ladder truck in front of Boscov’s North kicked off the evening. He greeted the students and their families, and then children paired off with an assigned officer to begin their shopping adventure.
The Muhlenberg High School Band was on hand to perform an hour-long concert of holiday favorites, and members of the Crime Alert Berks board and advisory board served as Santa’s gift-wrapping elves to help the children make their presents even more special.
CAB Vice President Chris Nein organizes this annual event and donates refreshments for the participants.
“This is something I look forward to working on every year,” he said, “and I particularly salute Boscov’s for everything they contribute to this annual event.”
Boscov’s, he said, provides half of the gift cards valued at $100.