AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a decades-long tradition around the holidays, pair police officers with students in need and let them shop for holiday gifts together.
The program creates a safe environment for kids to socialize with officers and create positive relationships.
Saturday, members of Amigos en Azul, or Friends in Blue, hosted their annual shop with a cop event in Austin. Roughly 150 kids from several Central Texas elementary schools got $150 to spend while hanging out with Austin police officers.
“I do remember one story where the young girl wanted to have something for the dad and prepare him for an interview and wanted to get a shaving kit so he could look presentable for his interview,” Cpl. Marcelino Gamboa, with APD, said.
For the last 20 years, the group gives students the chance to shop for themselves or their family members — hoping to add a little more brightness to the holidays.
When the program started, it served roughly 50 kids a year. That’s bumped up to 150.