For the 4th Year, the Atlantic City Police Department's annual tradition "Shop with a Cop" is back at the Walmart Supercenter in Egg Harbor Township on the Black Horse Pike in Atlantic County, NJ. Yesterday began the first of many 2023 NJ Statewide ‘Shop with a Cop’ events to be conducted over the next few weeks throughout New Jersey.
Click the following link from last night's NBC Philadelphia coverage of the event:
The event was coordinated by the Atlantic City Police Athletic League and Ocean Inc. as youth were picked up by buses at three Atlantic City School locations including: Uptown School Complex, Pennsylvania Avenue School and the New York Avenue School and provided a police escort to the Walmart Store in Egg Harbor Township in Atlantic County. Additional Atlantic City schools will participate at the same Walmart on Tuesday, December 12th Wednesday, December 13th and Thursday, December 14th.
Throughout the shopping spree, police officers were paired with each child, pre-scanned and calculated their assigned child’s order to ensure they were within $150 before proceeding to the checkout. It was a very well-coordinated system in order to meet time constraints. Shop with a Cop is not just about taking the children shopping, it's a fun filled day for a number of kids during the holidays while creating a bond with local police officers.
While shopping, officers engaged in conversation with each child asking them about current trends and the child’s areas of interest while shopping and selecting their holiday gifts. Once at the register, Channell Wilkins, Ocean Inc. President/CEO also presented them with a $50 Shoprite Gift Card to assist their families with food insecurities.
Lt. Wilber Santiago and leaders of ACPAL spent countless weeks coordinating this event. “We coordinated things to the greatest detail, said Santiago to ensure everything went smoothly.”
“This is an event that involves law enforcement at the highest level” said Channell Wilkins, Ocean Inc. President/CEO. “The Program promotes social justice and positive police relationships for families as they gain the skills, knowledge and enhance their ability to engage within the community. Three (3) similar events are scheduled for Ocean Inc. this Saturday, December 16th at locations in Ocean and Cape May Counties.”
Thank you to everyone involved for helping the Atlantic City Police Department bring so much joy to the youth this holiday season including the Brigantine Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Atlantic City Police Athletic League Inc. Atlantic City Police Foundation, Atlantic City PBA Local #24, The Salvation Army New Jersey Division, and Walmart.
For the second year, Sharonda Sheppard, Ocean Inc. Direct Services Director and her team collaborated with Chick-fil-A who provided take-away lunches for all the children as they completed their shopping and returned to their buses.
The ‘Shop with a Cop’ initiative provides opportunities for positive engagement between agencies, youth, and law enforcement. Beginning with O.C.E.A.N. Inc., the initiative has demonstrated the power of partnerships and possibilities. It sponsors children in disadvantaged households who are assigned a law enforcement officer and provides additional family support. The initiative creates an opportunity to build community collaborations and impacts youth through relationship-building to bring change within community policing strategies.
This program is provided by Ocean Inc through a Non-Discretionary Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) grant funded by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Ocean Inc. was able to serve more youth this year through an additional grant prepared by the New Jersey Community Action Partnership and funded through a Discretionary CSBG grant by NJDCA.
Stay tuned on the Ocean Inc. Facebook site for more ‘Shop with a Cop’ footage throughout the week in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May Counties.