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Woodburn Police and Woodburn Fire team up with local school districts and other entities to continue program.

COURTESY PHOTO: WOODBURN FIRE DISTRICT - Partners in the annual Shop with a Cop (and firefighter) meet up at the Woodburn Wal Mart on Dec. 14, 2021.Public safety crews preserved the traditional Shop With a Cop event this year by handing out vouchers to be distributed among families in need.

As recently as 2019, some eight different agencies had public safety personnel on hand to physically shop with the kids, but pandemic precautions changed all that last year. This year followed the 2020 pattern as well.

Woodburn Fire District reported that on Tuesday, Dec.14, the district joined the Woodburn Police Department in presenting school district representatives with 100 $50 Walmart gift cards to distribute to Woodburn families this Christmas.

Woodburn Walmart once again partnered in the cause by providing $2,125 to each group. Individual police officers and firefighters have added to the donations, bringing the total to $5,000 and spreading the gifts out to additional families.

WFD officials noted that police and fire agencies participate in the program nationwide. It originally began as "Shop With a Cop," but over time the annual event expanded to include fire agencies.

The traditional setting is one of students from local schools paired with police officers and firefighters to shop for gifts for their family members. With many COVID-19 precautions still in place, gift cards were presented again this year in lieu of the in-person shopping that has reportedly been a tradition in Woodburn for more than 10 years.

While the program has adapted to the pandemic, the focus and purpose have remained the same: to provide a memorable experience and holiday gifts for children that may not otherwise be able to have Christmas gifts, and provide a positive experience with police officers and firefighters as they often only see them in stressful and uncertain circumstances.

"We are happy to continue the tradition of making the Christmas season a little brighter for area families," WFD Command Chief Joe Budge said. "The Woodburn firefighters look forward to resuming the in-person shopping with the kids next year."

WPD echoed that.

"The Woodburn Police Department is honored to again participate in this great program and thank Walmart for their continued support," Woodburn Police Chief Marty Pilcher said. "As one of our favorite yearly events, all of our personnel look forward to once again shopping with the children in the future."

Woodburn School District's homeschool contacts work to identify and assign families who could use some additional support around the holidays.

"We are so appreciative of these generous donations," WSD Superintendent Juan Larios said. "It's moving to see the joy and impact these gift cards bring to our students and families."


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