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Christmas Giving Update

We’ve been writing about a lot of big Assignments lately, but we’ve also been working on many other ones. Check out what our volunteers and supporters have been working on with Columbus Division of Police​ officers. ------------ Our updates will begin with Shantaysha and her family, who were referred to us by Ofc Ed Chung​ (19 Pct, Hilltop). Last month, Ofc Ansley Rothwell (9 Pct, East Side) and Starfish volunteer, Shannon Rothwell, delivered clothing to the family (Starfish had also paid their utilities through January). They discovered that the family had other needs, including a couch and a TV. You donated $760 to help them with Christmas and other items. Shannon and Ofcs Chung and Rothwell worked out how to best spend the money: they bought toys for the kids and for mom, five months on her gas and electric bills, and a $150 gift card to Kroger. (The Rothwells also donated a Vera Bradley bag and a candle for mom because they’re fantastic people. 💙) Shannon also managed to get a couch donated—this is the second one she’s gotten donated for Starfish people!--and Ofc Chung donated a TV. ------------ Ofc Chung also asked us to help Morgan, a mother of three daughters he’d met on a call in the Hilltop who was going through a tough time, which was only made worse when she lost her job a few weeks before Christmas. We had several Starfish donors step up to help out these little girls and the mom, and Ofc Chung was able to drop off the presents they purchased for the family. (Thank you to Starfish volunteers Shannon Rothwell and Suzanne Maginn for doing the transportation for the presents on this one.) ------------ Our trip around the city next moves to 11 Precinct (South Central Columbus), where we meet up with Ofc Dan Snyder. Our readers met Ofc Snyder when he asked us to help out Tom, a single father of three from the Hilltop whose brakes were so bad in his car that he was unable to drive it. He’d been using an hour of vacation time every day trying to save up the money to pay to get them fixed, but his vacation time ran out before he could save up enough. He was in real danger of losing his job. When Ofc Snyder learned of Tom’s situation, he turned to us, and we turned to you. You came through in a big way, raising the money to fix his brakes in less than four hours!

Ofc Megan Howe of CPD’s Research and Development Unit reached out to us and asked if there was anything she and her team could do to help out this Christmas. We connected her with Ofc Snyder, and they worked together to help this incredibly sweet family have a nice holiday. ------------ Ofc Snyder is such an enthusiastic and caring officer that we immediately thought of him when AEP Ohio asked us if we would like to give officers free Columbus Zoo Wildlights Show tickets and parking passes to give to people they meet. Ofc Snyder, in turn, immediately thought of Ofc Anthony Johnson. Ofc Johnson, aka Ohnoitsdapopo, connects with many kids on 11 Pct, but one in particular, KenKen, he has really bonded with.

Ofc Snyder knew that Ofc Johnson would love to give those tickets to KenKen, and he did--to the extent that he came in on his day off to do it. Check out these sweet pictures. AEP Ohio was very generous with the tickets and gave us enough for everyone on Ofc Snyder’s shift to hand out, as well as for him to share with his neighbors on 12 Precinct. (And AEP Ohio specifically told us we didn’t need to mention them as they weren’t doing it for publicity, but this story was too cute not to share.) ------------ On Zone 4 Evening Midwatch, Ofc Mel Romans came to us about a family of seven who were not going to have a Christmas this year. We spoke to several different Starfish supporters, including one CPD officer, who readily agreed to adopt this family. The CPD officer and the other involved party (they both wish to remain anonymous) adopted the three boys. Our friends at Forward Air, Inc., adopted the four girls in the family, as well as the mom. Together, they filled up the whole paddy wagon with gifts for this family, who previously thought they’d have nothing for Christmas! Ofc Romans delivered the gifts with his Commander, Robert Sagle, who as you can probably tell, is a very nice person. ------------ Starfish supporter Melony reached out to us when she read about the Assignment we did with Sgt Dana Hess (3 Pct, North Central Columbus) and Tara, a victim of human trafficking. She wanted to help provide Christmas presents for the family, and as you can see from the pictures, she certainly did that! Sgt Hess and her officers also bought food for the family and delivered coats that had been donated by AEP Ohio/Starfish. ------------ You may recall back in November we asked for donations for a confidential informant of the Investigative/Tactical Unit CPD, also known as In/Tac. This is the unit that, among other things, busts down the door of the drug houses in the city, and this confidential information plays a key role in In/Tac’s mission. The undercover narcotics detective she works with asked if we could provide Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for her as well as some money for presents. We raised $205 on the post, and gave the detective $75.25 for Thanksgiving and $200 for Christmas.

He reported she was very grateful for the food and the help. Thanks for your support with this. In/Tac has a very dangerous job, and we were happy to be able to help them with this. ------------ The big Heroes and Helpers shopping event with CPD was last week, with 40 kids, two from each of the 20 precincts in the city. However, we were approached by two of the Community Liaison Officers, Joe Townsend (17 Pct, Northwest Side) and Dave Laroche (14 Pct, Far East Side), who said there’d been a miscommunication and three kids had been overscheduled, two from 17 Precinct, and one from 14 Precinct. They were hoping that Starfish would be able to cover the cost of their shopping trip instead of them having to turn them away. We readily agreed. Seventeen Precinct is where our president, Nicole Banks, lives, so she got her neighbors involved (as well as her son) and they donated a little extra for the two kids from their area. We used donations from 100 Men Who Give a Damn Columbus to cover the bulk of the amounts. ------------ Finally, we’ll update you on the Angel Tree Event that we spoke of a few weeks ago. You may remember reading about this one. It’s where the Schottenstein Property Group donated 96 toys for kids at East Columbus Elementary School, then came and wrapped them all for us in 35 minutes. Well, it was an incredibly special event. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was there (their presentation was completely mesmerizing). The kids received their presents from Santa, the CPD officers handed out pizza, and it was the kick off of Books and Badges program! But that will be its own entry later.

We couldn’t take any pictures of the kids’ faces so we didn’t take any of them opening their presents, but we still think you’ll enjoy these photos. ------------

It’s been a very busy month here at Starfish, but our hearts are full. Thank you for your support. We could not do this without you. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

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