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Photo Gallery | Local Kids Shopped With Officers in Prince George's County & Given $100 Gift Cards

 

It’s not everyday that you see police officers escorting children through the mall on a festive shopping spree, but today over 80 underprivileged children from local elementary schools were given the opportunity to shop for holiday gifts for their family through "Operation Santa with a Badge" provided by The Maryland Association of School Resource Officers.

“This is our ninth year of providing the program. We provide it to young people chosen from their elementary schools who may have suffered a tragedy in the past year or may need a push financially for Christmas,” explained Officer Michael Rudinski, who began the event in 2003.

The children arrived at The Mall at Prince George's in more than 30 police vehicles wearing a smile and a colorful Santa shirt given to them by the police officers. They then were given a $100 dollar gift card by the mall’s naturally bearded African-American Santa, and told to spend it on whatever their heart desired (within reason of course). After shopping the kids then enjoyed a complimentary lunch at the mall’s Outback Steakhouse with the police officers.

Operation Santa with a Badge is a wonderful program where the children, the officers and the community all benefit,” said Officer Rudinski.

He went on to say “ The children get the thrill of being in a police car and spending time with a police officer while shopping for gifts, and the officers get a touch of reality and a chance to do something nice within their community.”

If you are interested in the program and would like to donate throughout the year, visit www.masro.com.