MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The season of giving is here, and all across South Florida, officers from several police departments are coming to the aid of those in need.
There was lots of commotion at the Miami Beach Police Department on Saturday, but it wasn’t because someone was in trouble. Officers there held a toy drive for more than 400 children throughout the community.
“Everyone comes together that has some kind of role here in the City of Miami Beach,” said Miami Beach Police Capt. David De La Espriella. “The elected officials, everybody, to make today very special for those 450-plus kids who get to walk out with a toy and a big smile, so it’s very rewarding.”
Children got to pick from a table full of toys — before, of course, spending some one-on-one time with Santa.
Many of the toys came courtesy of Target, which chipped in with a very generous donation. “Target, through their Heroes and Helpers program, donated $10,000 towards our toy drive,” said De La Espriella. “It was obviously a helpful contribution so that we can put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces.”
Meanwhile, at a Target in Southwest Miami-Dade, some children had the opportunity to shop with cops, roaming the aisles in search of their favorite toys alongside Miami-Dade Police officers.
“We brought 30 children who were hand-picked by two schools that we work with very closely,” said Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Patricia Fuerte. “These schools picked these children who have a little less this season. We wanted to pick them and bring them over so that they can spend $150 each on toys and essential items for them and their families.”
With that much money to spend, the young participants picked up everything from Nerf guns to video games. “I got ‘Call of Duty: World War II’ and ‘Jurassic World,’ the new game,” said young shopper Bryan.
But the day was about more than just shopping. It was about the chance to share time together as well. “I think it’s a wonderful event. We try to do this very often, and we do it to strengthen our bond with the children,” said Fuerte.
Law enforcement agencies across South Florida have been doing events like these throughout the holiday season in an effort to better connect with the communities they serve. “Not only do [these children] get to buy stuff and we make their Christmas and their season a very jolly one, but they get to know us and they are out with police, and it strengthens the relationship, and it brings us closer,” said Fuerte.
Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.