‘Cops for Kids’ Brighten Up the Holidays

A family, with Officer Jamilah Jabali, gathers around a tree laden with gifts delivered by members and supporters of the Glendale Police Officers’ Association.
Photo by Justin HAGER


On Thursday evening last week Glendale police officers, staff and volunteers from the community filled their vehicles with hundreds of toys then made their way through city streets to families in need of holiday spirit.

The Glendale Police Officers’ Association (GPOA) “Cops for Kids” program has been reaching out to families in need for over three decades. The program started with six families being helped, because that was all the funding they had for the program, but boy! How this has grown.

“This year we are supporting 40 families,” said Amy Tate, “Cops for Kids” chairperson. “This is one of our biggest years yet.”

The need has grown, in part due to the pandemic, and thanks to the generosity of the community and the officers/staff, the program has been able to keep up with the demand.

Days before bringing the wrapped gifts to the families, volunteers dropped off trees for them to decorate.

Tate works with local school administrators to find students who are in need. In addition, police officers add names of families they have interacted with that may be helped by this program. Throughout the year the GPOA holds fundraisers to raise money for “Cops for Kids,” including golf and poker tournaments. Tate also reaches out to sponsors who have helped in the past and she is always looking for more to help.

Tate and her staff of volunteers talk to the families to find not only what they need but also what the children want from Santa.

This program is designed as a very personal outreach and Tate works on this project all year long. She is familiar with the history of the families and how the children have changed over the years.

To accomplish such a monumental task an army of shopper volunteers hit the stores with donated money to fulfill the Santa wish list weeks before the planned delivery. Funds are limited but more often than not the volunteers, including police officers, dig deep into their own pockets so one more gift can be bought that will make the toy delivery just a little more special.

As the caravan of volunteers and police arrived at one home there were three little faces looking out of the front window of an apartment. As volunteers and police walked up with packages in hand, the sounds of laughter could be heard from inside the home.

“The [kids] have been waiting and looking out the window all night,” said a mom.

She and her husband stood back as the presents were put under the tree and the police and volunteers talked with the kids.

When an officer shows up at a home it is usually because there is a victim inside or someone is in trouble with the law; however, holiday trips like those last Thursday are completely different.

“Most of our contacts are negative,” Agent Keith Soboleski, retired, said in a past interview with CVW. “This is all positive. We are showing up and bringing them gifts.”

The program also gave grocery gift cards to the families.

“This has been a [difficult year]. COVID has been hard,” the mom said. “But this … I am so happy with this.”

This year’s sponsors include:

  1. Chris Zastro and Team, NextHome Luxe Group
  2. Robert Kagan and Jean D. Kagan Charitable and Educational Foundation
  3. Stephen Ropfogel and Family
  4. Nancy Michael and family
  5. John and Betty Minnick
  6. Matt Haze and Family
  7. Barry Bradley, Bradley Gmelich + Wellerstein
  8. Sharon Townsend
  9. Blayde and Arlene Penza
  10. Tony at Puro Humo Cigars
  11. Stephan Harutyunyan, DMD
  12. Rosa Pena – JohnHart Real Estate and Liza Boubari – HealWithin
  13. Kukassian
  14. Rick Dinger, Crescenta Valley Insurance
  15. David L. Smith, CPA
  16. Rotary Club of Glendale Noon
  17. Star Ford Lincoln Glendale
  18. Glendale City Employees Association
  19. Assistance League Glendale
  20. Coldwell Banker Hallmark Realty
  21. Holy Family Catholic Community
  22. Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church
  23. Glendale Sunrise Rotary
  24. Kiwanis Glendale
  25. Glendale Police Explorers
  26. VS&CO
  27. GFCU
  28. Porto’s
  29. Mad Dog Bail Bonds
  30. American Legion
  31. CalStar Motors
  32. The Home Depot