Red River Valley Hosts 25th Annual Cops and Kids Shopping Event
The event is a collaboration between local law enforcement agencies to make the holidays brighter for kids in need
FARGO, N.D. — For most 11-year-old’s, a 200 dollar shopping spree at Walmart would probably mean a lot of video games, toys and candy.
But for James Hedine, it’s a chance to give back to those who mean the most to him.
“I thought maybe instead of doing stuff for myself and just getting a whole bunch of stuff for myself and getting one thing or one thing for that person, I decided to get a few things for myself, then I got the rest for someone else.”
That someone else is James’ foster mom Bev.
“She’s more like my mom than an actual foster mom. She has a rare cancer and I wanted her to get that blanket because she basically does everything around the house.”
James is one of 60 kids across Fargo-Moorhead selected for the chance to do some holiday shopping alongside a police officer.
Sgt. Mike Bernier says the selflessness James shows shines through most of the kids shopping.
“We get to see a lot of the kids, when we take them shopping, they’re more concerned about buying gifts for not themselves, but for everybody else – parents and brothers and sisters and friends and aunts and uncles.”
He says the event means just as much to the officers as it does to the children.
“We’re trying to get rid of that image where police officers are bad and all we do is bring people to jail. We want to work with the kids, and they have a chance to interact with an officer on a very personal basis.”
The goal is to provide a brighter Christmas for disadvantaged children in our communities.
“I get to buy the gift cards and see the kids get, you know, get the rewards from that. I kind of feel like I’m playing Santa Claus sometimes, so it’s a very good event. It’s very fun,” says Bernier.
James says the challenges he’s seen in life are what inspire him to put others’ needs before his own, and that it’s the perfect time of year to do that.