Shop with a cop returns to brighten holidays for hard-working Costa Mesa elementary school students

Costa Mesa police, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District as well as sponsoring businesses and organizations helped brighten the holidays for a handful of children during their annual Shop with a Cop event on Wednesday.

Principals from each of the district’s 14 elementary schools in Costa Mesa selected 21 students who had worked exceptionally hard during the year to participate in a $150 shopping spree, Costa Mesa Police spokeswoman Roxi Fyad said. Many of them were from families who might have struggled to afford gifts this holiday season, Costa Mesa Police Lt. Ed Everett said.
They began their day with breakfast with officers at the International House of Pancakes, where a few posed for photos with Santa Claus before heading to Target at 3300 Harbor Blvd.

Some skipped down the store’s aisles alongside officers in search of gifts for themselves and their families. One girl gasped as she pointed to a stuffed Snorlax on a shelf, and hugged it tightly before tucking it alongside other presents. Another held a Charizard aloft over his head before landing it into a shopping cart.

“Some even bought things for their teachers,” Everett said.

Frank Garcia, 9, collects a stuffed Dragonite as gang investigator Jose Coto checks out during the Costa Mesa Police Department’s Shop with a Cop event on Wednesday.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“This is exactly what community is all about, and we’re just excited to be here,” Costa Mesa Police Chief Ron Lawrence said Wednesday morning.

This is the second time the department has hosted the shop with a cop. They plan to do so again next year, and hope to include as many as 30 children, Everett said.

The event was sponsored by Target, IHOP, the Newport Harbor Elks’ Nauti-Gals Yacht Club, ExperTec Automotive and the Costa Mesa Police Assn. In addition, the police association is sponsoring 13 local families in need to help them get through this holiday season, Everett said.

Students and Costa Mesa police make their way to Target for the Shop with a Cop event Wednesday.

Students and members of the Costa Mesa Police Department make their way from IHOP, after having breakfast, over to Target for an annual Shop with a Cop event on Wednesday in Costa Mesa.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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