As a charity, we work with Columbus Division of Police officers to help people in need. For nearly two years, we’ve brought you stories of officers selflessly working to improve the lives of the people they serve—giving food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and even an entire car to people in need. Providing haircuts, school supplies, coats, and bicycles to children. Giving books to entire classrooms and letting the kids in those classrooms get to know the officers who serve their neighborhoods. We are constantly impressed with and humbled by the officers that we work with, and we are always honored that we get to partner with them to help improve the lives of the citizens of Columbus.
Recently, thanks to Cost Plus World Market (Columbus, OH), we got to tell those officers thank you. Not indirectly, by helping them help others. No—we got to work directly with their leaders to give them tangible tokens of our appreciation.
City of Columbus Code Enforcement Officer Maria Gonzales, who we’ve worked with several times through the Community Liaison Officers, and who spoke at our February meeting, referred the manager of the Lennox World Market to us when she realized the store would be temporarily closing due to COVID-19 and would need to donate their Easter candy. We spoke to the delightful manager, Kaitlin Malobabic, who let us know that she had multiple (huge!) boxes of candy, as well as dozens of Easter baskets, to donate. Since we already had 200 baskets that were donated for kids from Mrs. Marylou Posey, and since there aren’t that many children outside due to the quarantine, we decided to use this as an opportunity to thank all the hardworking CPD officers for everything they do for our city.
In order to limit exposure, our President, Nicole Banks, and her son Rohan handled the basket assembly, while Starfish Executive Vice-President and CPD Deputy Chief Tim Becker handled the logistics of distribution. World Market was so generous with their donation that we were able to create 48 baskets—one for all 20 of the precincts in the city, as well as every unit Starfish has every worked with, to include In/Tac, the Community Liaison Officers, and K-9 (and many units that Starfish hasn’t yet worked with!). There were also 48 “bonus bags” of treats that were too big to fit inside the baskets. Some of those bags included panettone cakes, bags of Easter pasta, chocolate memory games, or foil-wrapped chocolate Easter eggs. Altogether, it was 411 pounds of candy—1,450 packages of items!
Chief Thomas Quinlan and all of CPD’s Deputy Chiefs—Richard Bash, Tim Becker, Gregory Bodker, Jennifer Knight, Kenneth Kuebler, and Michael Woods—with the help of some of the Commanders, are handing out all the baskets and bonus bags. Each of the baskets has a sticker on it that reads, “A gift for you from your friends at Starfish Assignment and World Market (Lennox). Thank you for all you are doing to protect our community during these uncertain times.”
We always appreciate the sacrifices police officers make for us, but even more so during this pandemic. Thank you to Maria Gonzales, Kate Malobabic, and World Market for allowing us to do this for them, Sgts Will Edwards and Jeffrey Baker and the General Staff for getting the items to the officers, and to Ellis Kirk for his superb support of our efforts (as always).
Be safe, everyone.