DUNMORE, Pa. -- Police officers in Lackawanna County were given a gift few of us experience this time of year -- an excess of Christmas shopping money.
The Dunmore Police Department's holiday fundraiser went much better than expected, and they went shopping for the gifts kids in need have really been hoping for.
Instead of driving patrol cars, Dunmore police officers navigated shopping carts through the packed aisles of Target in Dickson City. And instead of writing tickets, they checked items off of Christmas lists -- not a bad day at work but no less challenging.
"It's a little chaotic, trying to figure out what's on every list, trying to go around the store and figure out what they had. Like the Nintendo Switch, we bought six of them, that was all that they had, so we bought them," said Dunmore Ptlm. Tom Richardson.
Budgets weren't a concern on this shopping trip. The police department's first-ever "Christmas with the Cops" event raised more money than expected: $15,000 that will buy Christmas presents for dozens of families in need.
"We had different businesses reaching out to us saying, 'Hey, we did a toy drive for you. We would like to come drop these off.' The different schools were reaching out. All the grades were doing fundraisers, even the second graders raised $50 for us, which was so cute," said Nicole Sullivan, Moreland Collective.
All of the gifts bought at Target are in addition to the Dunmore Police Department's already huge collection of holiday gifts; a garage-full was donated by members of the community.
"Today's been fun. I got to decorate a bedroom, so we're actually, today, using this opportunity to get the things that they need but also, every child, we asked what they really want. What is that toy, their dream toy? And that's what they're buying," Sullivan said.
Dream toys some kids said they've waited a few Christmases for. They may never know who their secret Santas are, but the cops hope the other people shopping saw them.
"We're human. We're looking to give back, and this is what we do on a daily basis, just not to this scale where we get to come out and shop and give toys, but we're always trying to lend a helping hand whenever we can," Richardson said.