By Ashley Cox

SARASOTA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)–The Sarasota Housing Authority, Sarasota Police Department, Walmart, and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) are partnering to provide 150 underprivileged children with a unique holiday experience to ‘Shop with a Cop’ for holiday gifts in Sarasota.

This year, the Sarasota Housing Authority will partner 150 local underprivileged children with local law enforcement to shop for holiday gifts at a local Walmart. The event will be held Saturday, December 11, 2021, from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m. at Walmart, 8320 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota.  **Journalists are welcome and invited to attend**

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“2021 will mark a decade our agency has partnered with the Sarasota Housing Authority to take part in Shop with a Cop and continue to build strong relationships with children in our community,” said Interim Chief Rex Troche. “Shop with a Cop is an event our officers and civilians look forward to every year to have an opportunity to spend quality time with children to help them purchase presents for the holidays,” said Interim Chief Troche.

“Having a safe and strong community begins with having mutual trust and respect between community members and the men and women sworn to protect them,” said Sarasota Housing Authority CEO William Russell. “‘Shop with a Cop’ builds positive relationships through this once in a lifetime holiday event,” said Russell.  “Many of our kids who have participated in past events reminisce about what a positive experience it was to shop with and get to know SPD officers.”

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Charlie Hugill and Aubrey Robbins, two sophomores at Out-of-Door Academy, who founded their charity “Communities Unified” this year said, “We are excited to help give kids the experience to interact and shop with the Sarasota law enforcement during the holiday season.  When we founded “Communities Unified,” these were the exact type of events we wanted to be involved with.”

SHA raises over $10,000 for this event through its 501c3 affiliate Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation. This year’s event was made possible through donations by Communities Unified, Walmart, IBERIABANK|First Horizon Foundation, Hoyt Architects, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Knights of the Eagle, Gary Dornbush, and other private donors.
Donations provide Walmart gift cards Sarasota Police officers will use at checkout for each of the 150 children.

Those wishing to donate can do so through the Sarasota Housing Authority’s 501(c)3 affiliate, Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation (SHFC).  Checks can be made payable to Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation with ‘Shop with a Cop’ in the memo line.  Credit card donations can be made online at http://www.sarasotahousing.org/SHFC.aspx.  Checks or cash donations can be dropped off at the Sarasota Housing Authority, 269 South Osprey Avenue, Sarasota; Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to Noon.  100% of donations will be spent on Walmart gift cards for children.

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For more information, contact the Sarasota Housing Authority at 941-361-6210.