Starfish Assignment is based on the premise that we might not be able to change the world, but we can make a difference for one. To close out the year, we want to thank you for allowing us to make a difference in Columbus. Your support is what enables us to continue to help people, and we could not do it without you. Let us show you some of what you’ve done recently….
On the West Side of the city, Franklin Township Police Department reports that their Christmas toy drive was a huge success, thanks in large part to you. Two hundred families were served, and each received a turkey. Sergeant Dave Pollock reports that donations were down at a time when need increased, so he was very thankful that Starfish was there to fill that gap.
Also on the West Side, Columbus Division of Police Officer Ed Chung partnered with our friends at Forward to help a single mom and her two children. Forward is an incredibly generous company. You may remember they helped South Linden Officer Mel Romans last year when he identified a family in need on his precinct. They contacted us again this year, wanting to help when they could. When Officer Chung told us about the mom who’d recently relocated to the Hilltop with no furniture and recovering from a serious automobile accident, Tamara and her team swung into action, getting her family household goods and everything they needed for Christmas. Then, with help from Starfish supporter Tom Bolon and the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, she received a 15-piece delivery of furniture for her home.
Towards the center of the city, 11 Precinct Officers Alex Mottinger and Dan Snyder came across some children involved in a serious car accident. Not wanting their Christmas to be spoiled by such a sad event, we were able to use your donations for the officers to buy toys for them.
Ohnoitsdapopo, aka Officer AJ Johnson, joined his friends from 11 Precinct to give out some Blessing Bags and candy donated by Sahara-Columbus and gift cards made possible by Starfish donors, the Wartel Family Foundation, and CME Federal Credit Union. Officer Johnson wrote on his Instagram, "HUGE shoutout to Starfish Assignment for hooking up Ms. Tina with groceries for the fridge, candy for the kids (all ten of em), and gift cards for the holiday!! As many of you know Ms. Tina and the kids are like family to me... this meant the world to them and to me as well! I also want to recognize my co-workers Officer Snyder, Mottinger, Hale, and Ohlinger who made it all possible and even more special! 💪🏽"
K-9 Officer David Jones and his pal Ayko delivered presents to the family they befriended in October who'd been in a car accident, thanks to your donations. The three kiddos enjoyed their gifts, and their parents received a $250 gift card.
An anonymous donor came to us, asking to give $1,000 in a special way. We immediately thought of the Homicide detectives, who are dealing with the highest murder rate the city has ever seen. The donor loved the idea, and detectives were able to give $250 gift cards to four families who have been touched by homicides. We’re grateful to the donor for providing the opportunity for the detectives and families to be able to get together just before Christmas in such a special way.
Another donor gave us fifteen $50 gift cards to an online retailer. We gave these to officers across the city and enjoyed hearing who they went to—single parents in need of a special treat, people who had done something nice for others, a young musical prodigy who uses his talents to cheer up his neighbors. One officer had a thoughtful idea: give the card to a gas station attendant. They have dangerous jobs and deal with many challenges, including frequent overdoses. A $50 gift card was a nice, unexpected present.
On the South Side, Officer Heidi Graber partnered with our friends from the office of James A Homon, Orthodontist, who helped us with two different Assignments last year--donating water bottles for a middle school basketball team that was sharing one bottle and giving us dental products for our gift bags. This year, they adopted THREE families with Officer Graber, filling her entire cruiser with wrapped presents for them!
Yesterday, Officer Graber contacted us about a family whose heat had been turned off. They are in the process of getting it restored, but they needed a safe space heater to get them through the night. Would we be able to provide them one? Thanks to your donations, we were able to dip into our emergency fund for a safe electric heater to keep the family warm while the situation was corrected.
We think it’s fitting that we close out 2020 with the same group of four officers that started 2020 for us. You may remember that East Side Officers Mancini, Hicks, Reynolds, and Shapiro came to us in early January, asking for help for a boy who had witnessed his father nearly kill his mother. They asked that we give him the Christmas he didn’t get to have, including basketball shoes. You responded in a huge way—so huge that he got to go on TWO shopping trips, spaced out months apart.
This time, they came to us about a grandmother to 10 who wouldn’t be able to afford Christmas for her grandkids without our help. Thanks to your Giving Tuesday donations, the officers were able to get a tree, stockings, and presents for the family and make their holiday truly special.
As we say goodbye to 2020, we thank YOU for your ongoing commitment and support in a year that was filled with challenges and opportunities. We have big plans for 2021 and look forward to working with all of you to help build stronger communities.