HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Huntington Beach police officers on Tuesday took local homeless children and their families shopping for the holidays.
It was an exciting morning for the group of children that were picked to join the "Shop with a Cop" event as many of them don't often get to go to a store and buy just about anything they want.
"There's a lot of people in our community that need help," said Billy O'Connell, a councilmember of Huntington Beach. "There's a lot of people a paycheck away from being out in the streets."
Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy said he was happy to help those in need in his community.
"We have 25 kids that are paired with 25 uniformed officers shopping in Target," he said. "Each of the kids is able spend $200 on their family and themselves."
The children also got to bond and laugh with local law enforcement officers.
"We got a little gingerbread man, a Christmas tree and a snowflake," said one of the kids.
Half of the money was donated by the Huntington Beach police Officers Association, the other half was by the Nobles Family Foundation.
Many of the students, from schools in the Huntington Beach, Ocean View and Westminster school districts, selflessly filled up their shopping carts with gifts for their loved ones.
"It's so heart-warming to see the difference being made today," said O'Connell. "It's great."
All 25 students also met Santa and got to take pictures with their shopping buddies.
Organizers said this event led to more opportunities to help meet the families' needs.
"We learned a child, a 5th grader here in a local school, he and his mother were homeless," said Dave Humphrey of Huntington Beach police. "We were subsequently able to get them housed through a local non-profit here in Orange County."
To help families have warm meals after the holidays, see more information below:
Ingrid Ono, administrative assistant to the chief of police
City of Huntington Beach Police Department
2000 Main Street
Huntington Beach, Ca. 92648
Tax ID #501 c 3 47-1726054