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'Shop With A Cop' features more kids, multiple departments



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Johns Creek firefighter Carlos Garcia helps Lance Badger, left, and Anderson Pecot choose the best Star Wars toy for their money. Jason Wright. (click for larger version)
December 14, 2009
MILTON - Nearly all of North Fulton got in on the fun this year, with police officers and firefighters from Alpharetta, Milton and Johns Creek pitching in to take children Christmas shopping as part of the Alpharetta Police Athletics and Activities League's (PAL) yearly "Shop With a Cop."

Officer Jason Cimino is PAL's CEO. He said the participants are recommended to PAL through local schools and volunteers who feel their families might need some help providing a Christmas.

Each child is given $100, and this year, 80 local youths were able to make their wishes come true. And the wishes of their families, too — it's a yearly tear-jerker when the children spend their own money on siblings or other family members.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Howard said Walmart gave $2,500 to the program, and CH2M HILL gave $2,000. There were also $375 in personal contributions at the store during the event.

PAL's remaining funds will go to providing a Christmas dinner Dec. 19 for 30 families, plus toys to go with the hand-delivered meal, said Cimino. The CEO said there's nothing quite like Shop With a Cop, now in its 11th year.

"I told one mother [whose child is enrolled in PAL] that we would like for her to take part in Shop With a Cop, and she instantly teared up," he said. "She said on her way to PAL that day she was thinking, 'How am I going to do Christmas this year? God please give me a sign.' "That's what makes it all worthwhile."

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