The Rotary Club of Tulsa continued its annual heartwarming holiday tradition on Saturday.
Thanks to generous donations during their virtual fundraiser and a $2,500 gift from Mark Allen Chevrolet, the club managed to raise an additional $6,500 this year for elementary students to "Shop With A Cop."
Tulsa police officers said this is a chance for the kids to get to know them beyond their badge.
Misty Merrel said her brother was excited for the Saturday event.
“He said, ‘I'm going to shop with a cop!’ I'm going to shop with a cop!’” Merrel said.
The club has hosted “Shop With A Cop” for nearly two decades. Students from Celia Clinton Elementary School were asked to make wish lists of what their family wants and needs for the holidays.
"It helps a lot with our family,” Merrel said. “Some parents don't have enough to get Christmas presents."
Rotary Club of Tulsa president Paul Bauman said the kids were paired with an officer and a Rotarian. With a budget of a few hundred dollars, they went shopping for their families.
Meanwhile, their buddies find out what they want and secretly shopped for the kid.
"They have the same giving spirit that the rotarians do,” Bauman said. “They don't even think they're there for themselves. They're there for others."
Tulsa police said most of these officers are off duty and they're there because they want to be.
"It warms my heart,” TPD officer Lori Visser said. “I've done this in the past and just watching these kids it just gives you such joy.”
"I feel like 2020 has kind of been like the Grinch and has taken a lot of things away from the kids,” TPD officer Ronni Carrocia said. “At least with this event it helps us give that back to them.”
"We just look forward to this year after year of having this ability with Tulsa Rotary Club to make an impact in these child's lives,” TPD chief Wendell Franklin said.
Students expressed their joy at the event.
"We had a lot of fun,” Celia Clinton Elementary School student Aniya Frazier said. “And also, I was happy.”
The families also went home with groceries and festive goodie bags.