What a beautiful day we had today, shopping with officers and detectives from Columbus Division of Police as they helped children who have been victims of crime have a good Christmas. The amazing team at Walmart Columbus - West Pointe Plaza approached us a few months ago, wanting to work with us to help children in need, and we knew just what to do: partner with Detective Andre Edwards, who every year works with his fellow CPD officers to give a good Christmas to kids have had unspeakable acts committed against them.
We explained to the Walmart team that because these children are crime victims, we wouldn't be able to bring them into the store. Instead, officers would come in and shop for them, and each would receive approximately 15 gifts. They were very happy to be able to help these children and were so sweet to work with.
While shopping, the officers who participated were thrilled to be able to give back to kids who have gone through so much. Many have children of their own and purchased items based on what they're used to buying for their own kids. For example, Sergeant Mel Romans's daughter is now grown, but he's still very happy to pick out things for girls and happy to ask women shopping nearby what their opinion is on a particular item. (They were thrilled to be consulted!)
Each officer was given helpful instructions by Detective Edwards and his wife, Nina, which included filling up their carts and aiming for around $400. The officers were so diligent about finding the best and most joyful values for their toy dollars, and you'd see them walking around, carefully inputting each total into their phone's calculator, so they knew where they stood.
As the shoppers learned of what we were doing, they asked if they could also contribute, handing us money at the checkout to stretch our dollars even further. Such a beautiful day of generosity from everyone involved--Walmart, their employees, and customers, Andre and Nina, the CPD officers who happily came to shop, all officers touched by child victims, and Starfish donors.
If you would like to contribute to Operation Thin Blue Line, they are accepting donations through the end of the week.