Shop With A Cop: Santa Claus Stopped in Hallandale Beach last Week

By Steve Cummings

December 16, 2021

The holiday season is traditionally a period for family gatherings and sharing good will with family and loved ones. One of the great joys is providing food and gifts for those who are less fortunate and making them feel inclusive.

For the past 21 years, the Hallandale Beach Police Department has rallied the community to assist with the annual Shop With A Cop Program allowing deserving children to stroll the aisles at Walmart selecting gifts for Christmas.

The event has needed revisions for the past few years due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, but Jonathan Carrillo, Program Director of the Hallandale Beach Police and Activities League has ensured that 100 fortunate children had their dreams fulfilled in 2021.

Jonathan Carrillo had reached out to participants from Gulf-stream Academy, The Police Athletic and Activities League, selections identified by community resource officers and assembled volunteers from the civic organizations including police officers, teachers and young adults to procure the wish lists of the children from Walmart.

The cafeteria at Gulfstream Academy was decorated in festive decor as the excited children feasted on food donated by Chick-fil-A, courtesy of Aventura Store Manager, Ricardo Mendez along with cookies and gingerbread houses provided by Walmart.

Jubilant faces lit up the room as LOL (laughing out loud) dolls, bicycles, scooters and computer games were the presents of choice as gift wrapped paper covered the floor.

Jonathan Carrillo recognizes that the arduous process of shopping, wrapping and organizing the gifts was made seamless by the cooperative efforts of the staff members at Gulfstream Academy while the event was made possible with generous donations by the Windhover Foundation, David Burton, Page Properties, R.B. Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of Hallandale Beach, Caron Foundation, Dr. Joseph A. Amunategui II, Walmart, Chick-fil-A and the Hallandale Beach Police and Activities League. Many thanks to the men and women who are Hallandale Beach Police Department Officers that frolicked with the kids and carefully supervised the safety of 100 youngsters aged five through thirteen who anxiously opened their presents leaving an indelible joyous holiday experience.

Steve Cummings is a Past Lt. Governor with Kiwanis International and can be reached at: (954) 907-2392.