Officers deliver holiday cheer to those in need

Springfield program provides complete Thanksgiving meal to city families.


For the past month, Laura Bates hasn’t had a job, money or a place to call home. But none of that was as heartbreaking for the single mom as knowing she wasn’t going to be able to give her son a real Thanksgiving dinner this holiday.

“It’s the little things,” she said. “It’s never quite been like this, where I’ve hit rock bottom and can’t even afford to eat Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a really bad feeling when you have kids, and this is a family time, and I couldn’t provide.”

So it was very unexpected when a Springfield police detective who met her at the hospital when she was with her son recommended her for the department’s annual Operation: Thanksgiving. When she got a phone call telling her the department would provide her a holiday meal, free of charge, Bates said, “It actually made me cry.”

“I’ve had my bad times with the cops, but I’ve never been on this side with them. They are really there to help you,” she said. “It just touches my heart.”

The program delivers holiday dinners to needy families identified by Springfield Police Division officers and Catholic Charities.

This year, officers helped 10 area families with a turkey dinner along with all the fixings: stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, vegetables, bread, milk, eggs and, of course, pumpkin pie.

With the help of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, Springfield Command Officers Association, Meijer and Walmart, volunteers and police officers assemble the meals and then make door-to-door deliveries. It’s one of the most positive experiences the department has all year, said Sgt. Joe Tedeschi.

“These folks live in our community, and it is still very tough economic times, and our police officers come into contact with them every day,” he said. “We’re just fortunate that we’re able to go and help them.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

How – and when – to protect your pipes from freezing
How – and when – to protect your pipes from freezing

When temperatures fall below freezing, water pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. They can release several hundred gallons of water per hour, resulting in a big – potentially costly – mess in your home. Pipes burst because of the pressure that's exerted when water freezes. It can exceed 2,000 pounds per square inch, so it's no match...
Champaign County Pet of the Week
Champaign County Pet of the Week

Dakota is an 11-week-old male German Shepherd/Shar Pei mix. He is currently a small puppy at 20 pounds, but we are guessing he will grow up to be a medium-sized dog. Dakota was surrendered to us by his owner, along with his two siblings. He is playful but very calm for a puppy, and he loves to cuddle. Dakota is up to date on vaccinations (including...
Ohio fighter jet unit heads to Baltic region
Ohio fighter jet unit heads to Baltic region

Ohio’s only fighter jet wing has sent 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons to Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, officials said. RELATED: New flight controls added to B-17F Memphis Belle The Toledo-based 180th Fighter wing deployed the fighter jets and 250 Ohio Air National Guardsmen to Amari Air Base, Estonia, in the Baltic region. The mission...
Girl attacked, killed by dog family owned for five days
Girl attacked, killed by dog family owned for five days

An Oklahoma family is mourning the loss of their 3-year-old daughter who was the victim of a dog attack. Rylee Marie Dodge was mauled by her family’s dog, an animal they said they had owned for only five days, KSWO reported. >> Read more trending news  Rylee’s father Jason was visiting his brother, when he got a call about the...
2 teens charged with murder in 74-year-old woman's death
2 teens charged with murder in 74-year-old woman's death

Police have arrested two Indianapolis teenagers, including an 18-year-old former nurse’s aide, in connection with the death of a 74-year-old woman, according to the Indy Star. Kiesha Summerhill and her 19-year-old boyfriend, Arion Cruthird, face murder charges in the Jan. 7 death of Alice Wright. The charges were announced by Brownsburg...
More Stories