By Garrett Stanley
Artificial snow filled the air as area police and fire department personnel gathered outside Woodinville City Hall on Saturday morning, Dec. 18, for the eighth annual Shop With a Cop event.
The event helps provide families in need with holiday essentials. Dustin Wuebel, president of the Woodinville Firefighters Benevolent Fund, described what a family receives.
“Dry goods, and a turkey donated from Costco, gift mugs and a $100 gift card for every child in the family at the very least,” Wuebel said.
Wuebel said more than 40 families received food donations and that between $9,700 and $10,000 in gift cards were handed out.
Both he and Woodinville Police Chief BJ Myers highlighted how essential the community is in making this event possible.
“It’s very satisfying. The community has been amazing for us. People pick up the boxes, go out and decorate them, then they bring them back here,” Wuebel said. “The community involvement has been the key factor in getting this event together.”
Myers said the generosity exhibited by community members was a sight to behold.
“We had 40 boxes that we were giving out—and hadn’t done so yet and 50 full decorated boxes showed up here donated by families. So, people were finding their own box, making a shopping list, filling it up, decorating it and dropping it off here,” Myers said. “It was such a generous outpouring from the community that we were able to be extra generous with these families, making sure that they have everything they need for a family meal.”
Many local businesses pitch in as well.
“We get support every year from Costco, Target, Fred Meyer, Innervate Foods, Pizza Coop, the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce and more,” Myers said. “Hair studios, other restaurants and real estate offices signed up to help as much as they could. There is a broad base of support for this event.”
Even from a distance, it was clear these families were happy and grateful to receive the donations.
“It’s great to see a smile on their faces and tears of joy and happiness in the parent’s eyes,” Wuebel said. “It’s been a great blessing for all of us.”
Myers believes the event embodies the spirit of the holiday season.
“I think the impact of this is not that the community sees it so much, but that we are making impactful gifts to these families so that they can put food on the table and don’t have to worry about shopping for their kids—it lets them focus on other things,” Myers said. “It’s great to serve the community in a way that’s not law enforcement or firefighting—we’re just neighbors here making sure people have what they need for a good holiday.”