The annual Crime Alert Berks County holiday Shop-with-a-Cop returned to Boscov’s North in Muhlenberg Township Thursday night. Twenty-seven 4th and 5th grade students from 26 Berks public and parochial schools were selected to participate, each receiving a $100 Boscov’s gift card to buy gifts for their family members.

A contingent of 30 police officers from departments covering the students’ school districts assisted the children in the gift selection process. Wyomissing Police Chief Jeffrey Biehl recruited the law enforcement officers.

“We value this opportunity every year to help children fulfill their Christmas wish lists for their families,” said Rick Periandi, president of Crime Alert Berks County.

“This gives each child the chance to experience the joy of giving, so important at this time of year, as well as to understand that police officers are kind and are always there to provide a helping hand.”

Santa poses for photos with the students and officers.

To kick off the evening, Santa Claus arrived on the Goodwill Fire Company ladder truck in front of Boscov’s greeting students and their families. Crime Alert Berks board and advisory board members as well as volunteers from the United Way served as Santa’s gift-wrapping elves to help the children make their presents even more special.

Crime Alert Berks Vice President Chris Nein organized the annual event and donates refreshments for the participants. “This is something I look forward to working on every year,” he said, “and I particularly salute Boscov’s for everything they contribute to this annual event.” Boscov’s, he said, provides half of the gift cards valued at $100.

Live at Boscov’s in Muhlenberg Township