PRINCETON, IN (WFIE) - Law enforcement members treated children to a Christmas shopping spree in Gibson County as part of Cops for Kids.
It wasn’t the type of weather that comes with Christmas time, but Christmas came all the same.
It came with the sounds of sirens and loud horns. It came with the sight of police car after police car escorting a North Gibson School Corporation bus down Broadway street in Princeton. It came with $200 for toys all to make Christmas a bit brighter for the girls and boys.
“The kids that come here, they’ve had a rough year so that’s why they’re here with us," said Princeton Police Chief Derek McGraw. “Our point and our goal for the whole year is to make them smile and have a good Christmas.”
Cops for Kids has hosted this annual Christmas shopping event for 15 years. Jonita Green has driven the bus holding the kids for nine of those 15. She says it touches her heart to see the impact an event like this can have on a child.
“If the bus was dark, it would just light up because their faces and their eyes are just so big and like glowing like ‘This is all for us?’ and we’re like ‘Yes this is all for you guys,'" Greene said. ““Every single year I say I’m not going to cry...There’s things that tug at your heart and then you just lose it. You’re driving down the road, people are honking and waving and you’re just trying not to cry and trying to drive. It’s something to do."
Greene says that if this event was the only reason she drove a bus, it would be enough. And Chief McGraw echoed the sentiment.
“You don’t see cops cry that often, but if you’re ever going to have a day, it would be today.” McGraw said.
The Chief got to spend the day shopping with seven year old Ian Diamond. Diamond said that the day was very fun and the opportunity to go Christmas shopping was very special.
“We were in the Lego aisle for a long time. So there were a lot of Legos in my cart, I can tell you that," said McGraw.
According to Chief McGraw the event has grown every year since it’s inception in Princeton 15 years ago, where officials stood out on the street to “count pennies” for funds.
But McGraw says he doesn’t want to see it stop.
“It gets bigger and bigger every year and I hope we have to shut Walmart down someday because it’s so big," McGraw said.
This year 38 kids accompanied Gibson County law enforcement for the shopping spree.