CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — More than $20,000 was poured into the Champaign community on Wednesday when Champaign Police officers went shopping with children for Christmas.

The shopping spree was the 20th annual “Shop with a Cop” event for the Champaign Police Department. This year’s edition saw 83 children receive $250 each to spend on Christmas gifts that they picked out with one of Champaign’s police officers.

It was the most amount of money Champaign Police has ever been able to offer for Shop with a Cop, and the greatest number of children to take part.

“This is the most joyful, most positive experience in the year for anyone in law enforcement,” said retired Champaign Police Officer David Griffet. “To be able to see people in your community having a nice Christmas and having something to look forward to.”

One family’s children are looking forward to their first Christmas ever. Zaida Aguilar is the foster mother of two children who went shopping on Wednesday.

“We just wanted to give them a special day that they could remember,” said Zaida Aguilar, a foster mother of two children. “They’ll be feeling like we did our first holiday for everything while we were out at someone else’s house.”

Aguilar said Shop with a Cop is helping her provide her foster children the best experience she can.

“We’re trying to provide a safe home and safe environment, love, protection,” Aguilar said.

The children who took part in the event got to pick out toys, clothes, shoes and more with their parents and police officers. Griffet helps run the event and said there is a great need for it.

“This is the most amount of children that we’ve done at one time,” he said.

Griffet said people come from all over central Illinois to participate.

“We get referrals from social workers, school personnel, churches, people within the community, the courts, officers,” he said.

The officers are just as excited to shop as the kids are.

“It’s just special, very special, and we appreciate and we thank everyone that has helped out and that has made this day special for all those little kids,” Aguilar said.

The Champaign Police Department hopes to serve more families in the years to come.