We had a great time at our Thanksgiving Blessing Bag event last week with Sahara-Columbus. The volunteers from the charity, who are mostly children, put together the following bags for Columbus Division of Police and Franklin Township Police Department to hand out to people in need:
50 Thanksgiving meal bags (14 meals/bag)
30 Bags for individuals experiencing homelessness
200 treat bags for children
Thanks to CME Federal Credit Union and Starfish donors, each of the 50 large meal bags also contained a $25 grocery gift card. Thanks to Walmart Britton Pkwy, officers were able to hand out cozy blankets with each of the bags to people experiencing homelessness.
CPD organized a Books & Badges reading for the young Sahara-Columbus volunteers to thank them for their efforts. The book was Amazing Tigers, which talks about how the stripes on each tiger are unique to them, a perfect opportunity for the children to learn about fingerprints. They had a genuine evidence technician, Jason Meyer, come in and show them how to dust for and recover fingerprints. (It was really VERY cool.)
Our friends at CME, Sunny 95, QFM 96, and Rewind honored Teja Kancharlapalli, the founder of Sahara-Columbus, as their Hometown Hero for November 2021. How wonderful is that? They came to the event and presented the award to her in front of the parents, children, and officers (and it was a complete surprise to her!). She was so sweet about it, too, insisting that the kids come up because "they do most of the work."
Finally, since it's Thanksgiving, the children wanted to do something to thank the officers for everything they do, so they made up bags of candy with drawings/notes in them that said things like, "You're my hero," and "Thank you for what you do." They got to give some of them to the officers there, and the rest were distributed along with the blessing bags to officers across the city.
What a fun night, made even better knowing that was just the beginning. Next came the officers distributing the bags! Thanks to CPD, FTPD, and Sahara-Columbus for partnering with us, to CME and Starfish donors for making the gift cards possible, and to Walmart for the blankets. Thanks also to Evidence Technician Jason Meyer for coming out and teaching all of us about fingerprints. Great stuff!