Children benefit from 5th annual Shop With A Cop in North Huntingdon
A wide-eyed 9-year-old girl took an inventory of all the presents she picked out with help from Irwin police officer Dan Wensel.
Courtney Lackey picked out games and art kits, a stuffed pink pony and a blue beanbag chair that she couldn't wait to plop into.
With help from local police departments, Courtney and other local children will have a memorable Christmas. The fifth annual Shop With a Cop event distributed $40,000 to almost 300 children throughout Westmoreland County.
Sometimes uniformed police officers can be intimidating to children, Wensel said. But in almost no time, officers knelt down, critiqued toys and dolls, and lifted up children to get a better view of action figures on the shelves.
“It's special to let the community know that we're more than a badge and a gun,” Wensel said. “I want them to know that police are their friends. We're here to help.”
Officers from departments in North Huntingdon, Irwin, McKeesport, Penn Township, Smithton and Monroeville and the state police teamed up with 58 local children to pick out Christmas gifts at the North Huntingdon Wal-Mart on Wednesday. Other departments in the county held similar shopping sprees at other Wal-Mart locations.
“I think it's great what they do for the kids,” said Tammi Lackey of Irwin.
The mother of two has been unemployed since she was laid off over the summer.
“If it wasn't for them, I don't know what we'd do,” she said. “I'd have a lot of very unhappy kids.”
All of the money raised through the program stays in Westmoreland County to directly benefit residents, said Trooper Steve Limani, a state police spokesman.
Each child received $150 to spend on anything in the store.
“I could only imagine that most of them wouldn't have a Christmas (without the program),” Limani said.
Seven Irwin police officers, all of whom volunteer for the program on their day off, paired up with children to select gifts, Chief Roger Pivirotto said.
“They're dedicated to the community and to helping children,” he said. “It's a good cause for the kids.”
North Huntingdon police Chief Andrew Lisiecki cruised aisles to check off items on lists for two teenage boys. As they walked through the store, Lisiecki chatted with the boys about school.
“It's good to see the officers are giving back to the community,” he said.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plan for ‘high-end’ beer distributor in N. Huntingdon being submitted
- North Huntingdon man hopes to bring brewery to township
- Irwin candymaker offers second shot at gold tickets
- Work on Irwin turnpike ramps scheduled to start Monday
- Excela aims to add cancer center to Norwin Hills plaza
- $45K grant would fund new classes at Norwin