As we've mentioned, backpacks full of school supplies have been a priority for us this year. Now you get to hear an update about some of those bags directly from Columbus Division of Police Zone 1 Safe Streets Sergeant Sean Blood:
"Zone 1 Safe Streets officers identified an urgent need for school supplies and backpacks for our Refugee and Immigrant population. We spoke with Jeremy Hollon, one of the Directors for Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). Mr. Hollon reported that CRIS had families coming to them worried about starving because they had to choose between buying food or school supplies.
"Mr. Hollon reported that CRIS typically has a small number of school supplies and backpacks to donate (usually only enough for nine people), but even those donations didn’t come through this year. Z1 Safe Streets was able to donate 60 backpacks with food and school supplies and an additional 40 backpacks with school supplies to CRIS.
"These backpacks are already on their way to helping those in need. Jeremy estimated that children from over sixty different countries will be helped by these donations! Jeremy told us that this donation from Columbus Police is the largest in CRIS history.
"This couldn’t have occurred without the donations from the Starfish Assignment and Sahara Columbus! Thank you so much! Mr. Hollon highlighted how difficult it is to maintain positive police relationships with these families, as many of them come from areas where police are corrupt and a significant source of societal issues. Having police involved with donating these items that are a critical need for these families will make a big difference in showing them what policing in this country is all about. Thank you!"
This made us cry. We were part of the largest-ever donation of bags in CRIS history and they came from the police, a group their clients typically are distrustful of. This is exactly what we want to do--help people and bring the community and the police closer together.
Thank you Sergeant Blood and the rest of the Zone 1 Safe Streets team for everything you do, and thank you Sahara-Columbus, Walmart Dublin - Britton Pkwy, and Starfish supporters for your generous and meaningful donations. We appreciate all of you so very much!