JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Jersey City police officers helped make the holidays brighter for some local children Tuesday night, pairing with the kids for the 5th annual 'Shop with a Cop' night.
More than 60 children were each given a $100 gift card and a personal escort to shop until they dropped at the Newport Centre Mall. The goal was to build relationships.
"Look at the smile. This is why we do it. Can't put a price on that," said Jersey City Police Officer Frankie Marto.
After working a full shift he came to the mall on his own time to give back. In fact all the officers were off-duty
"This is a beautiful thing," one mother said. "Whoever donates and allows the children to have this experience to walk with the officers, speak to them and ask them questions, it's a beautiful blessing."
6-year-old Isaac was a brilliant shopper. After finding toys for him and his brother, he had extra to splurge on a new tie and school shoes.
Officer Andrew Sarmiento helped 10-year-old Nichole Leigertwood keep track of her purchases.
In the end, Nichole got a ton of stuff for herself and her friends and $15 left to spend at another store.
"They're really generous to do that. Makes me really happy," she said.
It's not that easy picking out exactly $100 worth of dream gifts. So officers have been known to dip into their own wallets to make up the difference.
"That's what I want to show them, that we're here for them," said Officer Sarmiento.
Since its inception in 2014, hundreds of children from Jersey City have participated in the yearly holiday event.
The police department coordinates with East District Public Schools to determine which students would most benefit from the program.
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Jersey City police officers take kids shopping on 'Shop with a Cop' night