MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The spirit of Christmas was alive and well Tuesday in the city of Miami as officers spread cheer by treating some deserving children to a shopping spree at a local Walmart.

On the hunt for toys, children, alongside Miami police officers, were off and running in the early morning.

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It was all part of the department’s annual “Shop with a Cop” event.

“It’s amazing. The best part of the job. I look forward to this day every year,” said Officer Joanna Ozuna.

Miami Police Officer Joanna Ozuna showing a toy to one of the children participating in the “Shop with a Cop” event. (CBS4)

Children, pre-selected by the department, were given a $100 Walmart gift card. They then grabbed a shopping cart and received a mission: Find the holiday gifts that will make them happy!

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Inside the store, you could see just about everything. A traffic jam of carts, a football being tossed around and lots of smiles.

“I’m happy and I’m grateful. Thank you to the police department,” said one parent.

The hope is this day might just build bonds that uplift the community.

“In our current climate, where the police officers are not always seen as the good guys, this is an opportunity to remind all the kids that we are here to help, that we are here to make their lives safer and better,” said Interim Chief Manny Morales.

The day was made even better with a visit from Santa.

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“Today is my big lucky day!” said one child.

CBSMiami.com Team