PITTSTON, Pa. — What looked like a regular Saturday craft fair from the outside was so much more.
The spirit of the holiday season shined a bit brighter on Saturday for dozens of local kids in Luzerne County.
All after they had a chance to take a special shopping trip at a special place before anyone else was allowed inside.
Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey set the scene from Pittston.
At first glance, it looked like a gathering for law enforcement.
”We have state troopers, the district attorney’s office,” said Mary Kroptavich of Pittston.
Not to mention plenty of area police officers from several departments throughout Luzerne County.
All of them rallied outside the Pittston Memorial Library for the same mission; to take some very special kids on a holiday shopping spree inside a new indoor/outdoor vendor market called "La Festa Natale."
Pittston Township Patrolman Tony Demark was among dozens of officers who took part in this new holiday happening called “Shop with a Cop".
"You want this? TikTok keychain? Which one's your favorite?” said Patrolman Demark.
Although the “Shop with a Cop” initiative has played out in various parts of the country, creating one in Pittston was the idea of the city’s recently retired Police Chief Neil Murphy.
"It’s just amazing. And it’s just breathtaking to see all of the joy going around today, the true spirit of Christmas,” said Murphy.
"We wanted to do this because a lot of families have faced hardships with COVID. So we targeted children whose parents may have lost a job, faced some sort of hardship in the military, children who are adopted, who just couldn’t purchase gifts for their families this year, so this gives them the opportunity to come out and buy gifts for their family members,” said Kroptavich.
It was all made possible thanks to donations from the community.
All 70 kids who attended were partnered with a cop and given $100. All so they could buy special gifts from local mom and pop vendors like Krista Lake from Duryea.
"It’s just really great," said Lake.
Cadets from Lackawanna College’s Police Academy also lent a helping hand.
As for the law enforcement officials who helped out, they say this event goes well beyond the holiday season; showing the youngsters that they can count on them.
"We’re their friends and we’re here to help them,” said Jenkins Township Police Chief.
After the shop with a cop event, an Italian Christmas market remained open so others in the area could do a little holiday shopping of their own.
Want to see more holiday stories? Check out the WNEP YouTube channel.