LAUGHLIN — Officers and children shared in some Christmas joy on Saturday, as the Las Vegas Metro Police Department Laughlin Substation took Laughlin and Searchlight area students on a holiday shopping spree during the annual Laughlin Shop with a Cop event.
The program benefits children in need, who are identified by their schools. Each child in the program was treated to a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Laughlin American Legion and then bused to Target in Bullhead City where they got to browse the store with an officer, with $125 to spend on clothes and Christmas presents.
Without the program, many of these students would not have a single gift to open come Christmas day.
Racers 4 Kids, a fundraiser started by Bikini Bay Nightclub owner Jim Gish and Locations Racing coordinator Danny Fraire, is the main sponsor of the event. They host an auction and raffle in conjunction with off-road races coming to town each year, and donate 100% of the proceeds to Laughlin Shop With a Cop.
In nine years, Racers 4 Kids has raised nearly $85,000, greatly increasing the amount of children able to benefit from the program. Just this year Racers 4 Kids raised $14,500, which allowed 80 students to buy necessities like coats and shoes, as well as a few toys for Christmas.
“The kids just get so excited and have a very good time,” Gish said. “’Tis the season to be jolly.”
“The smiles on the kids faces are everything,” Fraire added. “That’s the reason we do it.”
Target employees love helping out with the program each year as well. The store gave a 30% discount on all clothes purchased by the kids.
“Target loves to help the community. It’s great for the kids — it brings them joy and it brings us joy,” Target visual merchandiser Brittney Woolard said. “They get things they really need, not just things they want.”
Santa Claus and McGruff the Crime Dog were on hand at Target to take pictures with the kids and add to the experience.
Nothing but smiling faces were leaving the store, as the kids walked out with overstuffed bags of clothing and toys and the officers and volunteers were just as happy to help provide that holiday cheer.