Mundelein cops, firefighters take kids on shopping spree
Four-year-old Xander Torres couldn't contain his exhilaration as he bounded through the toy department inside Mundelein's SuperTarget store Saturday morning.
"That's my favorite!" he shouted, spotting a Pokemon-related toy.
"Minecraft!" he exclaimed minutes later, spying a colorful box bearing the logo and characters from that popular video game and toy line.
Xander was among the more than 50 kids who teamed with Mundelein police officers, firefighters and other volunteers for the village's annual Shop With a Cop promotion.
Each child was given a $100 Target gift card to spend on gifts for themselves, friends or family members.
The program is funded by Target and donations from local businesses and residents. Mundelein Public Safety Director Eric Guenther said the shopping spree is a favorite event for his officers.
"There's just that sense of giving back," said Guenther, who brought his two daughters Saturday to help less-fortunate kids pick presents. "This is fun."
While some children put clothes or fashion accessories into their bright-red carts, many of them, including Xander, stuck with the toy aisles. His mom, Kailyn Torres, didn't mind at all.
"Whenever we come here for grocery shopping, he asks for toys and says, 'You always say no,'" said Torres, of Mundelein. "Today when I woke him up, he said, 'We're going to buy some toys.'"
Samantha and Stephen McCormick of Mundelein brought their seven children, ages 2 to 11, to the store for the shopping spree.
"We struggle around Christmastime with seven kids," Samantha McCormick said, "My oldest sons have been counting the days down until it was time to go."
Mundelein police Sgt. Paul Dempsey was among the officers who went shopping Saturday. He said he was happy to help a struggling family and to bring a child some happiness.
"The joy I saw on his face -- he looked so excited," Dempsey said.