NewsPublic Affairs / December 18, 2013

Clothe A Child Builds Memories And Relationships

Sam Klemet
Clothe A Child Builds Memories And Relationships

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police made the holiday season extra special for a group of kids, Wednesday.

Thirty-eight children from around the city received a police escort to Castleton Square Mall today as part of IMPD’s annual Clothe-A-Child event.

The kids were greeted like rock stars by about 30 employees at JC Penney. 

"It's amazing," said store leader Sheri Inlow.  "They are so excited about a new coat or a new item of clothing.  It's amazing to see how excited they get."

The kids were picked by officers who patrol the areas where they live and go to school.

Patrolman Timothy Blackwell was shopping for a 5-year-old boy and has been participating in the event for more than a decade.

"A lot of times we tend to see people at their very worst," he said.  "We get to see something really, really nice for a change and the kids get to spend time with us. It's all just very positive."

Each child picked out several outfits, toys and shoes.

Organizer Liz Allison says the goal is to create lasting memories for those who may not have had them this season.

"This is a Christmas the child will never forget," she said.  "Most of them have only seen the police in a very negative sense.  The next thing you know they see this policeman and he's got on a Santa hat and somebody else has on antlers and they are like 'what is going on?  This is different.'"

"You can just watch the kids just kind of melt as the day goes by and by then of the day half of the kids want to go home with the officer."