Montgomery Co. officers spread holiday joy, taking dozens of kids gift shopping


The Montgomery County Police Department granted some local children’s holiday wishes with a shopping spree on Saturday.

A police officer the Montgomery County Police Department takes a child shopping at the Target in Rockville, Maryland, on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022.
Police go holiday shopping with kids.
Montgomery County Police Commander Elizabeth Hattenburg with the Rockville Station eyes a shelf of toys with a child she’s shopping with at the Host Heroes & Helpers event in Rockville on Saturday.
Montgomery County police at checkout with a cart full of toys for children from disadvantaged backgrounds on Saturday.
Montgomery Police holiday shopping with kids.
Montgomery County Police Commander Elizabeth Hattenburg, seen left with reindeer antlers and a tutu, and another officer look on at a child’s bags full of holiday gifts on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022.
Montgomery County police holiday shopping with kids.
Holiday shoppers at the Host Heroes & Helpers event where Montgomery County police went shopping with about 100 kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022.

Like many of us do during the holiday season, police officers in Montgomery County, Maryland, enjoyed a little retail therapy Saturday morning – but they weren’t shopping for themselves.

Instead, they were shopping with kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, hoping to make their holiday season a bit brighter.

Around 30 kids, including Jacqueline, joined officers, making their way through the toy and clothing aisles at the Target in Rockville.

“I got to go buy stuff for Christmas,” Jacqueline happily told WTOP, holding shopping bags nearly overflowing with merchandise.

Her favorite purchase was a pair of pink and white shoes.

While Legos and the latest Marvel movie toys lit up the children’s eyes, it was the kids themselves that lit up the eyes of the participating officers.

“Whatever we can do to try to bring a little bright sunshine to their lives,” said Commander Elizabeth Hattenburg with the Rockville Station. “The officers love it. We have officers signing up to come out and do it, because who doesn’t like to go shopping with kids? It’s a great thing, especially for the holiday.”

To make it even more festive for the kids, Hattenburg wore a pair of reindeer antlers along with a red and green tutu.

Each child received $100 to find presents for themselves. Some, however, decided to spend their money on gifts for others. One young boy shopping with Hattenburg decided to buy a present for his little sister.

“He says his sister loves dinosaurs. So we found this big plush dinosaur with little teeny T-Rex arms. And so hopefully she’s going to like it,” Hattenburg said.

Many of the kids ended up going over their $100 limit, and many of the officers, like Hattenburg, paid the difference out of pocket.

“It’s just the smiles on their faces that make it all worthwhile,” Hattenburg said.

The Montgomery County Police nonprofit Foundation has raised enough money to take nearly 100 kids shopping this holiday season.

“It’s something that the children enjoy and need and really like. And it builds a great relationship between the police department and the children,” said Robert Linn, a member of the foundation’s board.


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