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‘Cops and Kids’ brings holiday shopping to Las Cruces students

Goal is to make event even bigger


From a Las Cruces Public Schools news release

The Las Cruces Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge No. 8 held the 22nd annual “Cops and Kids” Christmas gift-giving event, formally known as “Shop with a Cop,” on Saturday, Dec. 11.

FOP collaborated with Walmart Supercenter, 571 Walton Blvd., which awarded the lodge a $15,000 community grant to purchase Christmas gifts for LCPS students whose families are economically challenged. Other donations came from the Elks Lodge of Las Cruces, Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, Lions Club of Las Cruces and community members. Nearly $21,000 was raised to purchase Christmas gifts for approximately 213 students.

Sponsors and volunteers also included the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department and Mounted Patrol, Las Cruces Police Department, Hatch Police Department, Mesilla Marshal’s Office, Sunland Park Police Department, Anthony Police Department, Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD) and New Mexico State Police Department and Mounted Patrol.

This year, the “Cops and Kids” gift-giving event was dedicated in loving memory of Robert “Bobby” Trevino, a member of FOP Lodge No. 8. Friends of Trevino described him as a selfless and loving person who looked forward to this event every year.

State FOP and FOP Lodge No. 8 President Robert Parra rounded up LCPS and Walmart staff, along with FOP volunteers, to identify and shop for students that need extra support this holiday season.

LCFD escorted Santa Claus and the Grinch on a firetruck to greet students and their families outside Walmart before the shopping began. Students who participated in the event were partnered with a law enforcement officer who helped them shop for Christmas gifts. Each student received $100 to spend on clothing and toys of their choice.

“At the end of the day, to see the kids and their excitement and sometimes tears of joy, is priceless,” Parra said. “We’re focusing on the underprivileged children. This event is so special and gives us the opportunity to connect with the children and their families to maintain that positive connection with law enforcement. It serves multiple purposes.”

While all health and safety guidelines were followed, there were nearly 75 students unable to attend the event in person while in quarantine. To ensure those students received gifts, volunteers from Walmart helped shop for students and collaborated with the LCPS Federal Programs Department under the leadership of Ignosencia Campos to get the gifts delivered to students during the Christmas break.

“It’s just a blessing,” Campos said. “Growing up, I remember my mom struggled, so whatever I can do to give back to the community, just brightens my day and makes it all worthwhile to help our children.”

“It’s a privilege for us working with this great company and being able to help our community, so we enjoy it,” Walmart Market Manager Tim Walsh said. “This is something I look forward to every single year. To see all the smiles, it’s just so special.”

“Because of the impact of Covid-19, fundraising was difficult this year, so we came in with that financial assistance,” Walmart’s Agelica Rigales said. “We know the need is there. Our goal is to make this event even bigger next year.”