This past Thursday, we launched Phase 2 of Operation Hot Dog. If you're not familiar with Phase 1, it's when Starfish worked with supporters to provide food and moral support to Columbus Division of Police and other agencies during the riots and protests of May and June.
Phase 2 came about as officers continue to face public backlash and ongoing protests. They report that they pack their lunches because they're not sure if food they order will be tampered with, or if they'll even be served. Simply getting coffee can be a challenge--one officer said he went to the drive-thru of a well-known coffee chain in his personal vehicle, but when the cashier saw his CPD uniform, she refused to hand him his cup. She called for the manager to do it.
But we like to focus on positivity here, so we thought it would be fun to express our appreciation to our officers by providing meals to them, and they were very excited about it. We allowed them to choose what the menu was, and thanks to CME Federal Credit Union and your donations, we were able to make a lot of officers very happy over this sweltering holiday weekend. Look at all the precincts we got to! CPD labels their shifts, A, B, and C. First shift is A, second is B, and third is C. These are in rough order of how we fed them (with 8C and 16C closing us out tonight):
5B (South Linden)
Zone 5 Midwatch
14B (Far East Side)
20B (Far Southeast Side)
Zone 2 Safe Streets
2B (North Linden)
10C (Southwest Side)
9B (East Side)
17B (Northwest Side)
17C (Northwest Side)
13A (South Side)
Here's a very sweet story: We decided to order sandwiches for 9, 14, and 20 precincts from one restaurant/catering facility that we have a personal relationship with. Because they know us, they knew it was for police officers and refused to take our money, insisting on doing it for free. Not just that, but they gave us boxed lunches and many more than we asked for--enough for those precincts as well as Zone 2 Safe Streets, 19, and 2 precincts. (We bought them flowers to thank them.)
As much as we'd like to post the restaurant's name here so you all can patronize them, there are people who will make their lives very difficult if they find out they support law enforcement. In addition, they didn't do it for the publicity. They're simply very sweet people who try to do good things all the time, so we want to protect them. However, if you're a police officer and want to support them, email us from your duty account at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll give you the business name.
We plan to do more of these lunches/dinners over the coming weeks and would eventually like to get all the precincts covered. If you're a CPD officer and you'd like to help arrange a meal for your shift, please contact us.
We know that many of you would love to volunteer to prepare food and to help at the precincts, but due to security considerations, we cannot currently accept volunteers for these events. Thank you for understanding and for your support of our officers. If you'd like to make a monetary donation for future meals, we will make sure to buy the officers food they enjoy and to pass on how much you care about them. They were all thrilled to hear how much you supported Operation Hot Dog and how much support Starfish has in general, so thank you for this.
As you can see, all of this brought smiles to their faces and was a lot of fun for them. (Due to social distancing, we couldn't get group shots, but trust us--they were all there. Besides, no one wants to get pictures taken when they're eating, right?)