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    Little Rock police help homeless children shop for holidays

    11:58 AM, Dec 12, 2010   |    comments
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    Jesse, a homeless teen for example, has had a tough life and no family to help him buy presents for the holidays.

    "My mom brought me over here about two years ago. And about a month ago, she died. She [overdosed] on alcohol and medication so that was kind of hard," said Jesse. The homeless teen is also dealing with an estranged father.

    For his entire teenaged life he has never been fond of police officers.

    "I'm one of those people who just gets nervous because i don't know what their going to pull," he said.

    But all that changed Saturday. Jesse was paired with a Little Rock police officer for the department's first ever Shop with a Cop holiday event.

    The officers say it's their way of making this season a little happier for Jesse and 29 other homeless children. Each student received a $100 gift card courtesy of Target stores.

    "I know that there are a lot of kids out there that are less fortunate and this is just a way for me to help and be able to give back to those children," said Officer Brian Grigsby.

    Nina Scafe, a Little Rock School District homeless coordinator, helped select the 30 students.

    "We picked these 30 because they are the neediest. As I stated before, they are at the shelter, they don't have the same experiences or resources as other students and parents may not have jobs," Scafe said.

    Kaleb, 10, his little sister and mother just recently lost their home.

    "It's pretty hard," Kaleb said. "Like, you get used to some place and when you move you have to get used to it over and over again."

    After realizing his gift card won't be enough to buy his mother a new house, Kaleb says it is at least nice to have presents to look forward to on Christmas day.

    "It takes my mind of the stress and keeps me occupied and stuff," the 10-year-old explained.

    Jesse adds, "This is a great thing, what [the Little Rock police and Target] are trying to do.

    Target has been a big sponsor of the Shop with a Cop program. This year they've donated $120,000 to law enforcement agencies in 60 communities to help continue the program.

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