ALTOONA, Iowa - It's a yearly tradition that impacts the holidays for a number of students at Mitchellville Elementary School. "Shop with a Cop" brings a handful of students to the store, where they're given a certain amount of donated money to buy gifts for their families.
"It teaches these kids an important lesson," said Mitchellville Elementary School principal Joe Nelson.
Now in its fourth year, the Shop with a Cop program is bigger than ever. 10 kids were selected this year to participate, and with more donors than ever before - totaling around $2,500 - each student was allotted $200 to spend at the WalMart Supercenter in Altoona.
"For the kids to come shopping, it would be a great lesson to take some things home for the family," Nelson said. "And so, if you looked in the kids' carts today specifically, every kid bought something for the family. You saw waffle makers, popcorn poppers, and even food went home, and so, we were really happy with the message our police chief gave the kids and the response we got."
A school resource officer helped the kids wrap their gifts after shopping Friday morning and delivered them to their families on behalf of Santa.