RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — Monday night was special for dozens of families in Rantoul as they went shopping with their local police department.

Rantoul Police held its annual “Shop with a Cop” event, and it meant just as much to the officers as it did to the children they went shopping with.

“Many of us have children of our own and so it’s just kind of an extension us being able to show them that this is what we do as well with our kids,” said Rantoul Police Sergeant Christine Reifsteck.

Reifsteck said the children who went shopping with officers were selected by their teachers at local schools. The teachers believed the students selected would benefit from the program.

“We’re doing a total of 30 students with upwards of 120 kids serviced,” Reifsteck said. “We had pre-purchased the gifts for the kids and then the kid gets to come out and shop with the police officer for those in their family.”

Sintia, whose niece was one of the student selected, said her family did benefit from the experience, as was hoped by the teachers.

“Happy, emotional. You know, picking out the gifts for her brothers and mom. It was really nice,” Sintia said of her niece. “It has helped a lot for my sister. For being a single mom.”

Sintia said the experience made for a nice memory for her niece and that she wouldn’t forget it. She added that the gifts her niece picked out have a special meaning.

“It’s coming from her,” Sintia said. “It’s coming from her heart.”

Reifsteck said the happiness expressed by Sintia’s niece makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

“We love it. If you look around, everybody is smiling, everybody is laughing, there is lots of joking,” Reifsteck said. “The setting is just really relaxed. I think the kids and the families really enjoy seeing us in this light too.”

A major aspect of the event was kindness, something Reifsteck called “infectious.”

“I mean kindness is contagious,” she said.