Heroes and Helpers event in Yakima brings smiles to community yo - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Heroes and Helpers event in Yakima brings smiles to community youth

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YAKIMA, WA - Some Yakima Police officers gave some neighborhood children the experience of a lifetime just yesterday morning.

"Woke up at four in the morning, watched TV, and then when the police officers came I left with them," said Jaime Barajas, a student at Ridgeview Elementary. "At first I didn't know why my grandpa just told me that police officers were going to pick us up to take us somewhere, and I told him okay. Once we came here I was wondering why we were at the store."

Jaime says he just went along with whatever was happening, and that wasn't until they reached the toy aisle that he caught on.

"He just said, 'well, what do you want?'" said Jaime.

Jaime and his sisters were part of the 20 kids selected to be a part of Heroes and Helpers.

"Today we had the Heroes and Helpers event," said Hailie Meyers with YPD. "It's an annual event where we partner with Target and select various children throughout the community that were nominated by fellow officers or different members of the community to come and go Christmas shopping with them."

Target gives the officers a $50 gift card, and if the total exceeds that amount, officers pay out of pocket.

This is the first time Officer Meyers helps with the event, and says she enjoyed being paired with Jaime's sister.

"The thing I enjoyed most was seeing the smiles on the kids' faces," Officer Meyers said. "These children were so excited to shop for themselves and family members and it was really neat to see."

Officer Meyers says this is an amazing event that helps establish a connection.

"I think it's important in many ways for kids to see that officers are here to help them, and hopefully they can build a trusting relationship with the officers so when they get older they can come to us if they ever need anything," she said.

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