Regina cops-turned-elves take 20 elementary schoolkids Christmas shopping

A group of 20 elementary students in Regina went on a holiday shopping trip Wednesday they won't soon forget.

Participants spoil themselves and others with $200 shopping sprees

Each of the children was paired up with a police officer/personal shopper to spend their $200 on themselves and their loved ones for Christmas. (CBC)

A group of 20 elementary students in Regina went on a holiday shopping trip Wednesday they won't soon forget.

The Cornwall Centre once again partnered with the Regina Police Service and TRiP for the third annual CopShop.

Police officers were paired up with students and each student was given a $200 gift card to the Cornwall Centre to buy themselves and their loved ones Christmas gifts.

The children also received a full, personalized Christmas stocking, a pair of jeans from The Gap and a pair of mittens from Hudson's Bay.

The police officers picked up the students from school for the special outing. Police Chief Evan Bray said the group was listening to Christmas music on the way to the mall.

Regina police officers act as personal shoppers for elementary schoolchildren at risk in a three-year old program called CopShop. (CBC)

"All these youngsters are just so excited for this opportunity, it can't help but get you in the Christmas spirit and really I think it speaks to the essence of what Christmas is all about," Bray said.

Bray was paired up with a boy named Jacob. One of the goals of the event is relationship building between the officers and their smaller shopping partners.

Bray said through the partnership, he learned a lot about professional wrestling and the NHL.

Each of the children were paired up with a police officer to spend their $200 on themselves and their loved ones for Christmas. (CBC)

The chief said proof it was working appeared as the group was eating lunch and Jacob turned to him.

"He says, 'I think you're a nice cop,'" Bray said, smiling.

"I think that really speaks to what we're trying to do here."

Building relationships

In the past, the children often used some of their gift cards to buy themselves necessary clothing and winter items such as jeans, mitts and boots.

This year, individual stores stepped up to provide some of those items on top of the Christmas shopping money.

Doug Kozak, general manager of the Cornwall Centre, said he was happy to see so many retailers take part in the program.

The 20 children had lunch with the Regina Police at the mall on Wednesday before embarking on their shopping sprees. (CBC)

He said it's a day he said he marks on his calendar, excited on behalf of the participating children.

"They have a day that makes them feel special that they'll remember for the rest of their lives," Kozak said.  

Bray said the children are chosen by TRiP through a collaboration between individuals working in social services, education and health. Students who are deemed more at-risk are suggested.

"If we work collaboratively and we build relationships, not just with the children, but with their families, it goes a long way to making sure they make good decisions in life, stay in school, get their education and stay out of trouble," Bray said.  

The group of students also got to meet with Santa during their trip to the mall.

The children also received a full, personalized stocking, a pair of jeans from The Gap and a new pair of mittens from Hudson’s Bay. (CBC)