Thanks to some very generous Starfish supporters, we were able to give one hundred $50 Kroger gift cards to some of our agencies in Central Ohio. When we contacted one of them to ask if they'd like to participate, they told us, "Your timing couldn’t be better. We have about 25 kids for Shop With a Cop and one or two in particular requested food on their shopping wish list." It about broke our hearts, but we were so happy to be there for those children.
It's been a tough year for many, and we are honored to be able to work with our sponsors and partner agencies to bring a bit of relief and joy to some. Officers and deputies are able to get these gift cards into the hands of people who need them most. Sometimes it's to people they know from patrolling, sometimes it's based on their years of experience. Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Tim Becker and Starfish President/Founder Nicole Banks traveled the Hilltop last Saturday, where he grew up and spent many years patrolling. One of his allotted gift cards went to a mom walking in the cold with four young children. After he told her he'd like to give her a gift card, she thanked him and told him she'd recently lost her job, so it was particularly appreciated.
Our liaison with CPD, Sergeant Christopher Smith-Hughes, traveled to the Far East Community Center, to see their wonderful center manager, Roger Harper. He asked to give the gift cards to some young men who are very active in the center's programs and are good role models. He felt certain their families would appreciate them and Sgt Smith-Hughes absolutely agreed.
In Franklin Township, Sergeant Dave Pollock gave his allotted gift cards to people he knows from patrol, including a mother whose life has been struck by tragedy and a single mom struggling to make ends meet. Starfish volunteer, Jack Carlin, accompanied him as he made his deliveries and he was greeted joyously at all his stops (even before they knew he came bearing gifts).
Thank you to Byers Auto Group, CME Federal Credit Union, The Cooper Family Foundation, and Ross Wealth Advisors for making this event possible, and thank you to our agencies Columbus Division of Police, Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Franklin Township Police Department, Marion Police Department, Marysville Police Division, Delaware County Sheriff's Office, and Worthington Division of Police for being such great partners in helping us to help people.