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Local Children Shop With Heroes

The call public safety officials responded to Tuesday night was one of a compassionate nature.

People driving past Meijer in Royal Oak on Tuesday night catching a glimpse of multiple police cars lining the front of the building were most likely under the impression that something went terribly wrong.

That wasn't the case.

Instead, dozens of service men and women, along with 33 children, flooded Meijer to participate in the annual Shop With a Hero program. Among the participating agencies were the Royal Oak Police Department, Royal Oak Fire Department, Berkley Public Safety Department, Clawson Police Department and Hazel Park Police Department.

Royal Oak Middle School student Max Strauch, 13, went shopping with Officer K. Corradi of Berkley. His mom, Christina  Goodwin, is a cancer survivor.

"We have gone through a rough patch this year," Goodwin said. "The school called and asked if we would be interested in this. It's overwhelming. I was in tears."

Meijer contributed $100 gift cards and a free meal to each child participating in the event. Additional items were donated by Meijer and its vendors to ensure each family left with a basket filled with food.

Santa also dropped by, much to the delight of squealing girls who jumped up and down shouting, "It's the real Santa! It's the real Santa!"

Each "hero" was matched with one to three children. The children were able to shop for whatever they like alongside their heroes.

Max was spotted with a small kitchen appliance in his cart. Other young boys were seen shopping with cops for Barbies and Hello Kitty toys to give to little sisters.

"The gift card is intended for the children, but most of them are more excited to pick out gifts for family members than for themselves," said Sue Kaczkowski, a secretary at Oakland Elementary.  

Kaczkowski, along with other volunteers, wrapped items for the children when they finished shopping.

"It's just wonderful," Kaczkowski said. "The kids are very excited."

Christine December 19, 2012 at 05:27 PM
What a wonderful story. In the midst of so much heart-wrenching news, it's inspiring to read about a Michigan-based business coming together with local service men and women to make this holiday brighter for kids whose families are having a tough time for whatever reason. It's so sweet that many of the kids were eager to purchase gifts for their families. Thanks, Patch, for covering the story. I needed to read something like this. And thanks most of all to everyone who made the event possible!
Judy Davids December 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Aw! Thanks Christine. It was such a pleasure to cover this story. The children were so excited. And, the police officers and firefighters couldn't have been nicer. They were bending over backwards to help the children find the perfect gifts. Anyone who has ever shopped with a 7-year-old knows they are prone to change their mind a dozen times, yet these heroes happily went up and down the aisles with these kids. It was amazing to watch!
carrie chambers December 19, 2012 at 06:03 PM
So good to cry happy tears right now, this ROCKS!!

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