Meadville police will once again help dozens of local youths with their holiday shopping later this year thanks to the generosity of Wal-Mart.

Sgt. Neil Falco of the Meadville Police Department accepted a donation for $2,500 from Wal-Mart on Monday to support “Shop with a Cop.” The program, which Falco said is about 10 years old, provides $100 gift cards to underprivileged children and pairs them with police officers who lead a shopping spree through the store.

The result — 30 kids and 30 officers wandering the aisles of the store — is quite a scene, according to Falco.

“It’s a good experience,” he said. “Just seeing the smiles on their faces, it’s exciting. They get to buy stuff they normally wouldn’t be able to.”

The Wal-Mart donation will be supplemented by another $500 from members of the police and city employees unions, according to Falco, to provide gift cards for students from local school districts.

“We just like to support the local community,” said Louis Benvenuto, assistant manager at Wal-Mart.

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