The annual Crime Alert Berks County holiday Shop-with-a-Cop returned to Boscov’s North in Muhlenberg Township Thursday, Dec. 12.
Twenty-seven fourth- and fifth-grade students from 26 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. A contingent of 30 police officers from departments covering the students’ school districts were on hand to accompany and assist the children in the gift selection process. Wyomissing Police Chief Jeffrey Biehl recruited the law enforcement officers.
Wackie Patti the Clown was on site to add to the fun, including crafting creative balloons for the children.
“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. The children then paired off with an assigned officer to begin their shopping adventure.
The Muhlenberg High School Band performed an hour-long concert of holiday favorites.
Crime Alert Berks board and advisory board members as well as volunteers from the United Way 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.
The students and their parents feasted on pizzas provided by Nein as well as ice cream treats provided by the Dairy Queen of Kenhorst.