YAKIMA, WA - It's the season of giving and that's what Heroes and Helpers is all about. Thanks to a very generous grant from Target, 17 kids from the Yakima area had the chance to partner with a police officer to buy Christmas gifts.
The Heroes and Helpers experience starts when officers go pick up the kids at their homes. After some breakfast and a quick photo op with Santa, it's time to shop. So how are the kids chosen?
"These are kids that come from tough situations, that might not otherwise have Christmas," said YPD Public Information Officer, Mike Bastinelli.
Officers meet many of these kids throughout the year, while on duty and through some unfortunate situations. And they're going above and beyond their volunteer roles to make sure kids go home with gifts for everyone on their list.
"If you notice, a lot of these carts are filled with a lot more than $60 worth of presents. I've seen officers put $200-$300 of their own money," said Bastinelli.
And the kids aren't spending the money only on themselves.
11-year-old Julian Hernandez who was partnered with Officer Jonathan Cordova tells us he bought presents for his whole family.
"It's a great experience, if you've done it before, these kids enjoy it and they're very selfless, which is huge," said Officer Cordova.
Police officers and Target staff are involved every step of the way, making sure every gift gets wrapped and labeled.
While the experience as a whole has the kids beaming with joy, Francisco and Nidia Torres tell us getting to ride with the cops is something they'll never forget.