In the face of hardships, a Lake Mary mom and her two sons share their joyful experience being part of the Lake Mary Police Department's Shop With a Cop program for children in need this holiday season.
Every year, multiple police agencies across the state of Florida hold what they call, “Shop With A Cop.” As a Lake Mary/Sanford resident for about 17 years, I’ve always known about this program, which helps children in need around Christmastime. But little did I know that my boys would ever become a part of this heartfelt and amazing program.
I have been a stay-at-home mom to two boys and have not worked for 12 years, but over the course of the last eight months, life has thrown us a lot of curveballs. I’m recently divorced and struggling financially. We currently need government assistance for food and have lost our health insurance, which is difficult because my younger son is on the Autism spectrum and also deals with anxiety. He suffers almost daily meltdowns at home because of our situation and he is very confused.
Thank goodness for our amazing support system of family and friends, one of which wrote a letter to the Lake Mary Police Department telling them about my current situation. This dear friend loves my boys, as I love hers, and she felt strongly that my boys deserved to participate in Shop With A Cop. She wanted them to have a Christmas.
So my boys, along with 24 other, much-deserving local children got to walk around with a Lake Mary police officer at the local Target, and shop for whatever they wanted. Each child received a $100 Target gift card and enjoyed a pizza dinner before shopping. My boys walked around with Officer Smith. He was so kind, polite, and caring. His precious wife, Miss Becky, took pictures of all the children, and was so sincere. My older son got an Xbox game and fireworks. He also wanted to get candy and two movies for his grandmother. My younger son got the biggest Nerf gun I’ve ever seen. Amazingly, he still has 40 dollars on his gift card. He is usually such a quick spender, so this surprised me. But, he just wanted that Nerf gun and some batteries to put inside!
With various help, my boys and I are are going to get through this tough time. And thankfully, through the amazing Seminole County Public School District, I’ve been able to obtain a substitute teaching position. I love working with children and I hope this great opportunity will lead to something better.
We are so very thankful to the Lake Mary Police Department for spending its time and resources to help out local children in need of a Christmas. Children do not deserve to be thrown into difficult, adult situations. They deserve to just be kids. They deserve to be happy around the holidays and enjoy their friends and family. So, for this one night at Target, they were just kids. They forgot their problems for an hour, and just let go. Shop With A Cop allowed my boys to do just that. And from the bottom of my heart, I am most grateful. Thank you to the Lake Mary Police Department for giving my boys a Merry Christmas.
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