Latino and African-American students had the opportunity to spend up to $ 100 on gifts for this Christmas

Unable to hide the emotion on her face, Amy Portillo, 8, ran through the aisles of the Target store in La Cienega, west of Los Angeles, looking for the wisest way to spend the $ 100 gift she received.

After reviewing his options he took a folding chair, a small table lamp and a devil's skate, known as scooter, and shortly after he ran to look for the cartoon shirts.

Behind her, her grandmother María Álvarez and the Los Angeles police officer (LAPD) Arturo González were still infected with her emotion.

Police Gonzalez said he was very impressed with the attitude of Amy who thoroughly counted on how to render her money.

As is tradition, the Southwest Division of the LAPD partnered with the Target store to choose five students from each area school, as well as a group of LAPD cadets to take them from Christmas shopping to Target.

Target donated $ 10,000 that would be distributed among 100 children from low-income families.

One hundred children were chosen to receive a card to buy $ 100 in gifts each. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

"Amy was chosen by her teacher," Alvarez said, adding that her daughter, Amy's mother, could not attend because she was working. “But she was happy to know that the girl will receive toys. With this it helps a little in your expenses. ”

A few corridors away was Guadalupe Acevedo, 12, with his brother Steven Acevedo, 9. The boy decided on a book and a scooter while Guadalupe spent a large part of her gift card in a camera.

Guadalupe said they were elected because she belongs to the LAPD Junior Cadet group.

"It's a good opportunity because we're going to buy and it's the first time we come," said the girl.

Their mother, Martina Cardona, who accompanied them by giving them their distance to choose their toys at ease, without skimping on the price, said she was very grateful for the great financial help provided by Target and the LAPD a few days before Christmas.

"It's a very good opportunity because sometimes they want things that you can't give them," Cardona said.

Guadalupe and Steven Acevedo chose their Christmas gifts courtesy of Target. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

Shortly before entering the store, Captain John Shah of the Southwest division said they were very grateful to collaborate on the program.

"This is very exciting not only for the children, but also for the police who accompany them to buy," said the captain.

"And the children have a smile from ear to ear," he said.

Captain Shah added that in this way children can see police officers not only as active members of the law, but as partners with whom they can make their purchases.

"It's those police relationships with children that make them feel better," Shah said. “Because they know we are with them to buy and the relationship is strengthened (community and authorities).

From before noon, incredulous and grateful families waited to see what their children would choose.

Mr. Cruz Mendoza arrived from the south of Los Angeles to take his 12-year-old grandson Jordan Meléndez. The boy was chosen as part of the Junior Cadets.

"It's good that we came here so he can tell that it helps him to participate in these types of programs," Mendoza said.

Jordan Melendez, 12, chose a Fortnite card among other Christmas gifts. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

Meanwhile, Jordan tried to remember which of the many gifts he has always wanted would have priority.

"I saw the store and I knew I wanted some toys, but I forgot what they were," Jordan said.

Once in the store, the little one was hesitant to buy a new video game, but finally chose a Fortnite card to buy new customization items for the game he already has.

Meanwhile Brenda Álvarez and Enrique Guzmán arrived at the agreed time to be able to enter with their four children and be able to give them the gifts they could not afford.

“This is a very big help for everyone because only my husband is the one who works,” said Alvarez.

The Guzmán Álvarez family waited excitedly to enter to do their Christmas shopping. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

Their 16, 8, 5 and 3 year old children did not know what they were going to receive, but they were ready to enter the store. In shopping, parents opted for some toys but also for clothes.

"Thank you for helping families this season," Guzman said. "This has been an expense less for us."


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