Officers paired with students for holiday 'Heroes and Helpers' shopping event

WESTBURY, Long Island (WABC) -- A celebration with police officers dressed as superheroes kicked off the "Heroes & Helpers" annual shopping event for deserving kids on Long Island.

The event took place Friday at Target located on 999 Corporate Drive in Westbury.

Fifty children from the Westbury School District were paired with police officers who helped them with their holiday shopping.

"It's great for the kids to join with police, to know that we're the good guys," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "We're here to help you."

The Heroes & Helpers program fosters strong community relationships as children from the Westbury area shopped with officers for holiday gifts for their families through a grant awarded by Target.

"They buy gifts for themselves and for their families, not just toys, but things they need every day," retired NCPD Officer Sharon Galvin said. "From socks and underwear to pajamas and household things like paper towels and towels for the bathroom."

The NCPD Foundation generously matched the grant, doubling each child's spending limit to $200.

Ten children from each of the five schools were chosen by their respective schools as meeting the criteria for the grant.

"We were in another country, now we came here," 7-year-old Evolette Hernandez said. "Each day I've been working hard on my handwriting, to be nice to people, to be confident, to help people and make them happy."

The children and a guidance counselor from each school were transported in Nassau County police vehicles to the Westbury Target by officers from Community Affairs, who assisted with the event.

The event kicked off with refreshments and the distribution of gift cards by Target team members and the NCPD Foundation.

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