Crime Alert Berks ‘Shop with a Cop’ brightens holiday season for local families

December 14, 2023 - Jason Hugg

In a heartwarming event that brought together law enforcement, local students, and the spirit of giving, the 17th annual Crime Alert Berks County holiday “Shop with a Cop” took place at Boscov’s North in Muhlenberg Township Wednesday evening.

A total of 28 elementary school students, carefully selected from various Berks County public and parochial schools, eagerly participated in this festive occasion. The highlight of the event was the generosity bestowed upon each student who received a $100 Boscov’s gift card, empowering them to choose thoughtful presents for their family members.

“Our goal is to foster a positive interaction between young people and the police department” said Crime Alert Berks President, Rick Periandi. “Too many times it seems there is a wedge between the two. Once people start to communicate and spend time with each other and talk, you find common ground.”

The shopping adventure unfolded with a dedicated contingent of 21 law enforcement officers from departments covering the students’ school districts. This collaborative effort aimed not only to foster positive relationships between the community’s youth and law enforcement but also to create lasting memories during the holiday season.

The evening commenced with the excitement of a cherished photo opportunity with Santa Claus and the Phillie Phanatic, filling the air with festive cheer. Subsequently, each student was paired off with a law enforcement officer, initiating the shopping experience.

“Each year we have been able to grow this event bigger and bigger to help more kids. I think the officers enjoy being here just as much as the kids. Many come back every year because they want to make a difference in the children’s lives” said Periandi.

Ensuring that the gifts were not only heartfelt but also beautifully presented, the United Way of Berks County volunteers provided a gift-wrapping service.

The 17th annual Shop-with-a-Cop not only exemplified the holiday spirit of giving but also showcased the power of community collaboration. As law enforcement officers and students came together in the aisles of Boscov’s North, the true meaning of the season was captured in smiles, laughter, and the joy of making a difference in each other’s lives.