Cleveland Police Athletic League spreads holiday cheer to local children

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CLEVELAND, Ohio --  The holiday spirit was alive and well inside Cleveland's Public Hall Saturday.

Throughout the day thousands of Cleveland children attended the 8th Annual Cleveland Police Athletic League's party.

Santa Claus made a guest appearance spreading some Christmas cheer.

A group of kids wearing smiles huddled around Mr. Claus to sing Jingle Bells.

The annual event treated kids to a lot of games, train rides and lunch.

"I'm having a good time just celebrating and eating good pizza. Just having fun. I'm excited to pick out a toy," said Aanaiyah Lawson.

"It's outstanding. Look at all these great kids having fun in our land in Cleveland Public Hall. This is awesome," said Aaanaiyah's dad, Willie Lawson.

The kids were also treated to gifts, as well as tons of toys and games to choose from.  Parents said they were impressed with the party.

"It's a beautiful event. It's my first year here and I'm absolutely amazed by it and very happy for this event," said parent David Tower.

"In some situations they're less fortunate. So giving them a gift it might be their only gift," said Cleveland Police officer Rashawn Rahim.

Rahim hopes the event staffed by volunteers leaves a lasting impression on children.

"I think it's important to show the youth that police officers are not bad and with this program allowing them to come here and work one on one with us they can go home and hopefully when they see us again they'll say he was a nice officer to me," Rahim said.

"We love this kind of stuff. To see the smiles on the kids faces and everybody is pumped up and having a good time. It's really fun. It gives officers a chance to give back," said Jennifer Ciaccia spokesperson for the Cleveland Police Department.

The event was free and put on with donations to the Cleveland Police Athletic League.

Police said 3,000 children attended the event at Public Hall.

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