Hundreds of kids ‘Shop with a Cop’

See kids getting ready for school, as they are taken on a shopping spree in the Gateway district of outer East Portland …

Hundreds of kids and volunteers gather in the Hazelwood neighborhood, ready to “Shop with a Cop” at the Gateway Fred Meyer store.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The anticipation was palpable as hundreds of kids lined up in front of the Gateway Fred Meyer store on Wednesday morning, August 21, just before 7:00 a.m.

From the enthusiastic and eager look on the youngsters’ faces, it hadn’t been difficult to get them up early; they were about to be escorted through the clothing section of the store, before it opened for the day, by law enforcement officers and volunteers, for a back-to-school shopping trip.

Portland Police Bureau Chief Danielle Outlaw pauses for a photo with Reynolds High School cheerleaders.

“I came out here early this morning because I want to do everything I can to be part of this amazing event,” Portland Police Bureau Chief Danielle Outlaw told East Portland News. “It’s always exciting to see young people who are excited to go back to school – and even more exciting for us, as the Police Bureau, to be part of it!”

Emergency first-responders gather, ready to help a worthy child shop for clothing and shoes.

In addition to the kids, volunteers from local social service agency partners of the Sunshine Division, a hundred or so Portland Police Bureau officers, staff from Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and Portland Fire & Rescue volunteers were on hand to act as “personal shoppers” with the kids.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler spends a moment with one of the originators of “Shop with a Cop”, Fred Meyer Store Manager Amy Jacobs.

“It’s hard to believe, but this is our 18th year doing this,” said Fred Meyer Store Manager Amy Jacobs, recalling the first one, a project of “Weed & Seed: Lents/Brentwood-Darlington,” held at the now-closed Foster Road store.

“It’s great we’re having 275 kids this year; they’ll leave today with backpacks full of hygiene products and healthy snacks, in addition to the clothing and shoes they select, to help give them a great start to their school year,” Jacobs told East Portland News. “Fred Meyer continues to be involved in this, all these years, because we love to support our community; this has been a passion of mine from the start.”

Setting out for a shopping trip with her assigned students is Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Tasia Hager.

“This is a big deal for the kids who will be coming through the door,” commented Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

All the children weren’t picked at random, Wheeler said. “They all did exemplary community service – special things in their community – to be qualified to be part of this here today.”

PPB East Precinct Officer Adi Ramic helps participants find cool shoes.

Helping with shopping is PPB East Precinct Officer Tracy Ballew.

Participating kids were picked by the Boys and Girls Club of Portland, Islamic Social Services of Oregon State, Healthy Birth Initiative, Marathon Scholars, and Multnomah County Youth and Family Services Division, and are selected based on financial need.

The Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division, with support of Fred Meyer and Camp Rosenbaum, partnered to fund the program with $34,000 – and with Fred Meyer providing a significant discount on clothing purchases.

This year’s “Shop with a Cop” spree is underway.

“Not only does this event help the kids involved, it’s a great opportunity for officers to spend some time engaging with youth, said the Bureau’s Sunshine Division Liaison, Officer Matt Tobey. “In addition to ‘Shop With a Cop’, the Sunshine Division actually features a year-’round program where officers can take ‘kids in need’ shopping for clothes. Over the past decade, more than 3,000 students have been helped.”

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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