Several weeks ago, Mrs. Marylou Posey contacted us, and asked if she could donate 200 Easter baskets for Columbus Division of Police officers to give out to children in need. She makes hundreds of Easter baskets for charities every year, but this year the charities and schools she normally works with are all closed due to COVID-19. Her husband learned of us through the group 100 Men Who Give a Damn Central Ohio, which donated $10,000 to us to help us start our Books & Badges program, and he thought we might be able to provide a solution. Could we ever! We were excited to hear about this opportunity and contacted a couple of officers that we work very closely with to see if they'd be able to distribute these baskets even with the lack of people on the streets. Twenty Pct Community Liaison Officer James Poole and 13 Precinct Officer Heidi Graber were both very excited and said they would easily be able to give away the items to children they know on their precincts. They're also sharing the baskets with 13 Precinct Officer Amanda Hoover and 9 Precinct Officer Wendell Tolber. Ofc Poole handed out a lot of his baskets while on special duty at an apartment complex. He said he's been leaving them on the porches of kids he knows after knocking and going back down the steps. He said a lot of the children want to hug him, but their parents have been holding them back, which is tough for everyone. (We made sure he knows that's just as much out of respect for him as anything else. 💙) Ofc Graber's baskets are staged at her precinct. She loads up her patrol vehicle and hands them out between calls. She said she'll ask parents quietly, "Hey...do you need any Easter baskets for your kids?" Some of them will tear up and tell her they had no idea how they were going to pay for them. She'll ask them to meet her down the block or around back and hand them over if they want to keep things quiet, but sometimes they're fine with giving them to the kids then. They're so excited to have them. The baskets are really nice, the officers report. Filled with toys, little articles of clothing, candy, and even toothbrushes and toothpaste. Mrs. Posey and her friends worked very hard to make these, and we're so grateful. Thank you to everyone who helped, especially Mrs. Posey's 12-year-old granddaughter, Keira, who put in a lot of work on this project.
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