“Shop with a Shield”

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Police officer helps little girl shop for the perfect back-to-school supplies.
Police officer helps little girl shop for the perfect back-to-school supplies.

Salvation Army back-to-school program pairs up with police officers.

The Redding, Calif., Salvation Army recently held its second “Shop with a Shield” event at Shopko. The back-to-school shopping spree gave kids the opportunity to shop with members of the Redding Police Department, Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force (SINTF), the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and CHP.

The event was open to children that entered and won The Salvation Army’s poster contest, in which more than 100 students from Shasta County participated and 48 winners were selected. Winners were given $100 for drawing a poster about “living drug free.”

The idea to host the event came from Shannon Graham, special coordinator at the Redding Corps. Her brother-in-law, a patrolman in Gilroy, had mentioned to her they had done something similiar in his city. Graham was then able to secure a $1,000 grant through the Shopko Foundation and a $5,000 grant from SINTF.

This year, 19 uniformed officers and 34 students attended the event.

Audra Whipple, corps officer The Salvation Army’s Redding Corps, agreed and said the competition gets children to work hard and be rewarded for their efforts. She also said it gets the kids invested in their own shopping and gives them a sense of pride when they win.

Trinity Richards, 11, and her brother Trusten Richards, 8, were paired with Officer Brody Wilbourn of the Redding Police Department. As they walked through the store, Wilbourn helped them calculate the cost of the clothes to make sure they weren’t over budget.

“I know how important it was to interact with kids positively in order to break down any negative preconceived notions about officers,” Wilbourn said. “The fact they can have fun and interact with me in a positive way means the world to me.”

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