“Shop With A Cop” selflessness honored with a holiday surprise
There were a lot of smiles, laughs and good cheer on Nov. 20 as Lakewood Deputy Sheriffs helped brighten the holidays for 23 children from the Lakewood area facing tough circumstances through the annual “Shop With A Cop” program.
The event started with the families gathering for a free dinner at Red Robin at Lakewood Center, where they had time to chat with their assigned deputy sheriff. After dinner, the kids enjoyed a short trip in patrol cars with lights flashing to Target at the mall. There, each deputy helped their assigned child choose great gifts with the $100 Target card each child received.
Deputy Sheriff Osvaldo Santa Ana noticed how his assigned child, nine-year-old Cainan Von Hooser (see photo at right), shopped not for himself at all, but instead chose gifts for his mother and his baby brother. Cainan’s mother is experiencing homelessness, living in the streets of Long Beach, while Cainan and his brother stay with family.
Deputy Santa Ana shared this remarkable story of selflessness with Lt. Ciro Racowschi and fellow officers, who decided to do something special for Cainan. They reached out to Cainan’s grandparents to find out what he would like for Christmas and learned his only wish was for a real Christmas tree, something their fixed income wouldn’t allow. Deputy Julie Williams gathered a group of volunteers to put a plan in motion.
On Dec. 16, Deputy Williams, Deputy Hagewood, Explorers and station volunteers delivered the fresh Christmas tree (donated by Lakewood’s Home Depot), decorations and gifts to a very surprised Cainan, whose entire family was speechless over this kindness. (Photo above: Cainan (center), surrounded by family, friends and Lakewood Station deputy sheriffs and volunteers.)
“Shop With A Cop” is sponsored by the City of Lakewood, Lakewood Center, Target, Red Robin, California Pizza Kitchen and Domino’s Pizza.
The annual “Shop With A Cop” program helps children in need from the communities served by the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station. The children are identified as those in economic or other need by Lakewood Sheriff’s Station clergy, local schools, deputies based on interactions with local families, and Lakewood’s Project Shepherd program.