SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Saturday marks Salt Lake City Police Department’s 4th annual holiday ‘Police Pay It Forward’ event.
At 8:30 a.m., children from Salt Lake City School District were invited to SLCPD’s ‘Police Pay It Forward’ event; cashing in on free gifts and holiday cheer.
Police Pay It Forward is a program that gives children ages 6-12 the opportunity to partner with a police officer to shop for holiday gifts in December, and school items in August.
This year SLCPD worked with the Salt Lake City School District to identify children who are in need and would benefit from a positive interaction with a police officer.
“The pandemic has given us unique challenges for this year’s holiday shopping event, which has changed the shopping experience from years past,” officials share.
With COVID-19 safety precautions in mind, first and second-grade schoolchildren sent cards containing a holiday wish list to the Salt Lake City Police Department instead.
Volunteer officers were then matched with a child and ordered gifts online to fill the wish lists.
Gifts were then wrapped by Walmart volunteers and prepared for pick-up by each child, following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
As each child arrived to pick up their holiday gift, they were greeted with a wave from Salt Lake City Police Department command staff as well as the big man himself – Santa Claus.
“Glad to participate in our socially distanced Police Pay it Forward. Such an important event for both the kids involved and our SLCPD officers,” shares Chief Mike Brown with Salt Lake City Police Department.
Funds for the program are collected through donations from department personnel as well as donations from community organizations and businesses.