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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland police officers believe it is important to show area youth how much they care about their well-being, and a holiday event on Saturday gave good opportunity to do that.

The Cleveland Police Athletic League hosted its annual holiday party for kids at Cleveland Public Hall.  The event builds relationships and memories for many.

Officers tell Fox 8 it is the fifth year for the event, and at least 3,000 kids were expected to attend with their families.

There were toy giveaways, prizes, pictures with Santa and plenty of activities for the children.

Officer Anna Mercado has been with the Cleveland Police Department for the last 16 years, and she is thrilled for the event every year.

“Just to see them smile, be happy, running around and being free, that’s what I really like,” Mercado said.

The celebration allows everyone to walk away with something special.

For some children, this event serves a great purpose.

“You have kids here that probably won’t get anything for Christmas, and they come here and they are happy and they are glowing with happiness — they are going to get something under the tree,” said Dejanee Canmom, who is in the Cleveland Police Explorer’s Program.

Parents tell Fox 8 they are grateful for the experience.

“It gives the kids an extra gift at Christmas that I can’t afford to give them,” said Naomi Snider, who was at the event with her son, Justin.