SARTELL -- Local police officers didn't let the pandemic stop them from spreading some holiday cheer to area kids.

Members of the Sartell and Sauk Rapids Police Departments went virtual with their annual Shop with a Cop event.

Jill Lundquist is a school resources officer in Sartell. She says while they couldn't shop in person, they still wanted to find a way to interact with the kids.

We had the idea to meet with kids on Zoom and shop with them on the Walmart website. So we were able to still interact with them, see what they liked and their plans for the holidays. It was a great experience.

Roughly 50 kids got to spend up to $50 on gifts for either themselves or family members. Some choose to spend it on practical items like hats, gloves and socks, while others want games, toys or gift cards.

Lundquist says all the gifts were ordered online and were sent to the Sartell police department.

So the gifts started arriving already, and we are slowly wrapping and getting everything prepared. Next week we will start delivering them to the families.

Lundquist says with everything going on, it was important for them to find a way to continue to build that relationship with the kids in the community.

The Shop with a Cop program is made possible from a grant from Walmart and donations from Bernicks.

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