LOWELL — Superintendent Greg Hudon is pleased to report that the Lowell Police Department, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and Target partnered for Heroes and Helpers, a program in which Target provides gift cards to youth from under-resourced areas who then go Christmas shopping while partnered with first responders.
Lowell Police volunteers and 25 city youth between ages 8 and 14 were partnered on Saturday morning at Target, 181 Plain St., in Lowell, while extra Target staff were on hand and provided drinks and snacks. Bullseye, the Target mascot, was also on hand to greet shoppers.
Target provided $2,500 in grant funding, via the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, to give 25 Lowell youth gift cards to go Christmas shopping. There were no restrictions on what kids could buy or whether they had to shop for themselves or friends and family.
Some shopped for toys for themselves and siblings, one bought a coat, among other items, and another bought mostly snacks. Police officers helped children make selections and reached items on the tops of shelves, conversing with kids as they shopped.
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation joined Lowell Police in applying to be part of the program, which Target runs at stores nationwide. Target has provided over $5 million in Heroes and Helpers grants nationwide since 2009 as part of an effort to support the building of positive relationships between youth and first responders in the community.
Lowell Police had 25 officers volunteer to be shoppers, with Patrol officers, School Resource Officers, Lowell Police Youth Services Officers and top police commanders all taking part.
“I want to thank Target and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation for their generosity in allowing us to continue our work to build positive relationships with Lowell youth,” said Superintendent Greg Hudon. “As police officers, our interactions with members of the public can be difficult at times, but this was a great experience and a chance to share the Christmas spirit with youth from under-resourced neighborhoods.”