Christmas day came early for 18 students who spent Dec. 17 at the Oro Valley Target Store shopping for themselves or others as part of the annual Oro Valley Shop-With-A-Cop program. 

For 9-year-old Julie Lewelling, the shopping day came as a surprise and brought much excitement.

“It’s amazing. My parents kept it a secret for four weeks then half way here they told me,” said Lewelling. “I was really excited.”

For more than 10 years the Oro Valley Police Department has partnered with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #53 and the Oro Valley Target Store to host the Shop-With-A-Cop event. Each year teachers select students from nine private and public schools for the event. Students are chosen based on financial need.

When students arrived Oro Valley Police Officer Kevin Mattocks welcomed everyone and explained how the Shop-With-A-Cop event works. Each student teamed up with a cop and was given $200 to spend on anything they would like in the store. They were allowed only 30 minutes and had to try and purchase items that amounted to no more than $200. The top teams that were closest to the $200 amount received prizes at the end.

For 17-year-old Josh Painter from BASIS Oro Valley, the event turned out to be about blessing others rather than himself as he chose items that his siblings, niece and nephews would like.

“This is what I love about this event,” said Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp who was teamed up with Painter. “It’s great seeing the students here get things for other people.”

Employees from the Town of Oro Valley primarily fund the Shop-With-A-Cop event.

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