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ROCHESTER, Minn. – Students of Rochester Public Schools Middle School Right Fit were playing the role of Santa’s elves – wrapping presents for their family and friends Wednesday.

Through Target’s ‘Heroes and Helpers’ program, 19 middle school students received a $100 gift card to spend on gifts for themselves and their loved ones. 

Students and officers wrapped the gifts from  blankets – to dog treats – to candles and food. 

Officer James Marsolek says this is a way for students to understand that it’s just as good to give as it is to receive. 

For some, it’s their first time being able to give parents and siblings a gift. 

“They may not have the opportunity to give back to themselves and Christmas and the holiday season is the time of giving, and it’s great to have that opportunity to give somebody something for them to give something as well,” says Officer Marsolek. 

He tells KIMT News 3 this is also a great opportunity to build a bond between police and kids they work to protect every day. 

“The smiles on the kids’ faces, and stuff like that – the joy that it brings them, talking to the assistant principal, he says they’ve been waiting all week for this,” he adds. 

This is the fourth year Rochester Police Department has been a part of the Heroes and Helpers program – Rochester Public Schools signed on for the first time this year.

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