By Stephen Cummings
It's a ritual that happens every year and signals the start off the holiday season.
When the Hallandale Beach Police Department hosts their annual “Shop With A Cop” at Walmart in Hallandale Beach, you know Hanukkah and Christmas cannot be too far behind.
This year, there where 110 deserving youngsters who were given an opportunity to spend $100 each, which was donated by merchants in the community. After receiving a hot breakfast at Hometown Buffet, the youngsters went shopping.
Hallandale Beach Police Sergeant Rashana Dabney-Donovan coordinated the event as she supervises the Community Involvement Unit and was accompanied by roughly 30 of her fellow officers, who escorted the children through the busy aisles at Walmart. From the moment they began to shop, you could see the faces light up with smiles.
Some of the favorite choice this year were shiny new bicycles and computer games, yet some boys and girls opted to purchase gifts for their mothers - or family members instead of themselves celebrating the true holiday spirit.
Donovan is most grateful to the generosity of Walmart and the assistance that she received from store manager Chris Heron, who made a substantial contribution toward the event, but thanks sposnors such as Invicta Watches, Riemer Insurance, the Kiwanis Club of Hallandale Beach, Total Appliance, Harry Escandon of Crosstown Towing as well as Rodriguez Charities for affording so many participants.
Leadership begins at the top and Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy was one of the first officers to accompany a child on his or shopping spree while Officer Erik Camero assumed the duties of crowd control among the excited recipients. Officer Martin Jackson was seen helping some kids make their choices as well as Captain Paul Roberts. Sergeant Ricky Buoni is always a staple at any event that involves our youth and Hallandale Beach PAL Program Director Jonathan Carrillo was a great help coordinating as always.
The city can be very proud of volunteers such as Mayor Joy Cooper and former City Commissioner Leo Grachow who are constant participants assisting the young shoppers as well as Vice Mayor Bill Julian.
Barbara Southwick who serves on many committees was on hand as well as Nury Lewy(mother of former city commissioner Alex Lewy) offering their services.
The city of Hallandale Beach has displayed great camaraderie and enables deserving children to enjoy the Christmas holidays in style.
Stephen Cummings is a past LT Governor with Kiwanis International and can be reached at 954-907-2392.