Our Spring Blessing Bag Event today was so big and fun we're going to split it into two updates over two days so we can properly share all the photos and stories. Children and parents from Sahara-Columbus worked for weeks to make bags that Columbus Division of Police and Franklin Township Police Department could hand out to people in their patrol areas. Just look what they made:
300 kids' treat bags
50 bags for people experiencing homelessness
40 family food bags
Each of the family food bags also contained a $25 grocery gift card, thanks to our friends at CME Federal Credit Union and the Wartel Family Foundation.
The officers also received 120 Easter baskets from Starfish supporter Mrs. Dolores Morris. Wow, right?!
Officers David Jones and James Shockey and their partners, K-9's Ayko and Falco, arrived early to teach the Sahara-Columbus volunteers about K-9's. We thought half an hour would be long enough for this, but they kept everyone enthralled for well over an hour. It was so much fun!
Ayko is a Narcotics Canine--he finds drugs like meth and heroin. Falco is the first Explosive Detection Canine CPD has ever had. They're both certified in tracking; building, area, and article search; obedience; criminal apprehension; and handler protection. It was interesting when they told us that Ayko "alerts" to drugs by scratch at the item he thinks has drugs in it. However, Falco can't do that as a bomb dog because if he scratches at a bomb...bad things can happen. Instead, he lays down in front of it.
They're different in other ways, too. As you can see from the photos, Falco loves attention and loves to be petted. Ayko, on the other hand, is very focused on his work. So, although the kids didn't get to pet him like they did Falco, they did get to watch him in action: he found a pocket knife that Officer Jones had put in the grass outside the academy, just by smelling that there was an object that didn't belong there. Everyone was very impressed to see him do that, and we laughed when he was rewarded with some playtime with his ball. Ayko spins and spins when he plays with his ball.
If you'd like to learn more about Officer Jones and K-9 Ayko, you can read about the ride along our President, Nicole Banks, did with them in 2019.
We'll see you tomorrow for another update about this amazing event--you'll get to hear stories about the officers handing out the bags and Easter baskets.