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Manteca cops need help today shopping at Target for 100 kids in struggling families

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POSTED December 12, 2009 2:57 a.m.
The Manteca Target Store will see many off-duty Manteca police officers and their family members Christmas shopping the aisles this morning for youngsters who might otherwise go without.

“We’re going to shop for 100 kids and we need all the help we can get,” motorcycle officer and spokesman for the Manteca Police Officers Association Patrick Danipour said Friday.

The association is asking for members of the public to join them at 10 a.m. today on their shopping spree.  Officer Danipour will be in uniform and standing by the store’s check-out cash registers waiting to greet Mantecans who wish to take a child’s wish list scroll and purchase their own choices of toys and other gifts.

The names of the children are provided by the Ray of Hope organization that gets them from Child Protective Services and the Manteca Unified School District.   Those targeted children are limited to those who are disadvantaged and most in need.  For the last two years the wish lists have mostly included coats, blankets, food and a special gift for mom.

One 9-year-old’s list includes shoes, a coat and an “Ice Age 3” DVD.  “They don’t ask for much and they mostly ask for necessities,” Danipour said.

It has not been uncommon to see officers bring their own children with them to help in picking out clothing and gifts for the boys and girls on their scrolls.  Often officers’ sons and daughters are the same ages as those they are buying for – easier to match sizes, they say.

The officers create a long line of baskets at the last register as they finish their shopping – checking out one at a time.  Target checkers total the purchases on a long check-out register tape and one of the members of the police association will write a check to cover all the presents.

Following the police association shopping spree Saturday, the Ray of Hope schedules a yuletide dinner for all the children when the gifts are distributed to the boys and girls.
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