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FRAMINGHAM – This would have been the fifth year of police officers shopping with youth from MetroWest at Target in the annual Shop With A Cop program.

But like so many other events in 2020, the Framingham Police Association had to pivot and the 2020 Shop With A Cop looked a lot different.

But, the event still brought smiles to many kids and families faces on Friday night.

This year, police officers from Framingham, Ashland, Natick, Holliston, officers from Assumption College, and security from Staples helped out.

Framingham helped 288 families, Ashland helped 65 families, and Natick helped a handful of families, too.

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The Shop With A Cop helped individuals also in Hudson, Marlborough, Sudbury, Hopkinton, and Holliston, said one of the organizers Framingham Police Officer Matt Gutwill.

Donations came from the Framingham Police Association, Ashland, Police Association, Target, Chick-Fil-A, Needham Bank, Carmel Movers, Adesa, Staples, Ashland Teachers Association, and residents in several communities. Gutwill said the SOURCE article brought in donations from several residents.

“Really appreciative of *Framingham Police) Chief (Lester) Baker,” said Gutwill. “he is totally into the community relations with the police and his efforts to continue this.”

Gutwill said Chief Baker has mentored a kid who he first met at a shop with a cop event, and he is not alone.

“Many of the police officers have built a relationship with these kids,” said Gutwill.

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Gutwill said Lt. Harry Wareham and officer Ken Blass have also been mentoring kids.

Ashland Police Chief Vince Alfano and Sgt. Ed Burnham were also in attendance last night, December 18.

Burnham said the Ashland school principals and guidance counselors help select the families who receive the gifts.

“Our guidance counselors have a lot of knowledge about our students,” said Mindness School Principal Claudia Bennett

“The counselors do a great job,” said Middle School Principal David DiGirolamo. “the kids love this event.”

“But it is fund for us to see too. We just saw a bunch of our families drive through,” said the Ashland Middle school principal.

Warren School Principal Peter Regan said that if one child is selected from one of the Ashland schools, the three principals add the family members from other schools so no one is left out.

Besides different this year, the trio of Ashland principals all said it was colder, as the event was outside and drive-thru, due to COVID pandemic.

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While the kids did not get to shop in Target this year. Each family received a Target gift card, a Chick-Fil-A meal certificate, and other coupons.

For those who could not attend on Friday night, a police officer will be delivering the gift cards to the families.

Framingham Police also said it will be “taking all the names that participated, and will pull 15 names in a raffle, for an added gift.”

Plus “pulling the name of one girl and one boy, that will receive a bicycle to be delivered on Christmas Eve!”

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.