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      The meaning of Christmas

      Photo Credit: Photo by Justen Arnold
      Several Quincy police Officers flooded Big K-mart Saturday morning.

      But not to make an arrest. It was to give back as QPD eases the economic woes for some area children and helps them with their holiday shopping.

      Patrolling is nothing new to Quincy police officers, but patrolling the aisles of a store isn't the usual beat.

      Yet armed with a cart and a Christmas shopping list that's exactly what QPD did Saturday.

      Several officers volunteered their time and teamed up with about 20 area children from Cheerful Home to help them find gifts for their families.

      "It's enjoyable to take the kids out to help them the looks on their faces as they pick things out for their families and their brothers and sisters...their parents," said Chief Rob Copley and Shop with a Cop volunteer.

      Since the mid 80s, The Quincy Police Benevolent and Protective Association or PB & PA has partnered with K-Mart for the annual Shop with A Cop.

      "The PB & PA takes up collections throughout the year to enable us to do this," said Susan Vahlkamp, Records Supervisor, QPD and Shop with a Cop volunteer.

      Those collections along with money and a 15% discount from Kmart, gave each child $50 to shop with.

      Thanks to the program, the holidays with be much brighter for 5 year old Aneila Bethel with plenty under the tree.

      But this opportunity also taught her the real meaning of Christmas...the spirit of giving.

      "I had fun because I like picking presents out," said Bethel.

      "Most of the time contact police officers have with people isn't always positive and this is just a very positive way to spend a Saturday morning," said Vahlekamp.

      And Aneila's grandmother Sheila Jones couldn't agree more.

      "When we told her that she was going to be shopping with a cop she thought she was going to be arrested because that's all she knows. I had to explain to her that cops are good and they only arrest people when they do something wrong and she as going to have fun with them. So I think it was a good experience for her to know and understand what else a cop does," said Jones.

      Besides shopping money and a discount, Kmart also provided breakfast, gift wrapping, and even a gift for each child.

      Santa Claus was also on hand to greet everyone today.