The Springfield Police Division helped local families put food on the table this holiday season as part of its 26th annual Operation Thanksgiving.
About 11 families received a full turkey dinner from Meijer, as well as a second box of groceries to help people get through the holiday season on Wednesday, said Officer Tom Selner with the division’s Community Response Team.
Several people volunteered as part of the program, including members of the Springfield Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association and students from Springfield High School.
“There’s many people in need and every (home) I’ve been to has been extremely grateful to get this food,” said Linda Allen, a member of the alumni association. “It is joyful to watch the looks on the little ones’ faces.”
Donations from officers and local businesses, especially Meijer, helps operate the annual program, Selner said.
Earlier this year, the division cut back on some Community Response Team programs due to a lack of funding. However, they were able to fully fund the Thanksgiving program, Selner said.
“The need is there,” Selner said.
The event shows the police division does more than arrest people, Selner said.
“This gives them another opportunity to see that we’re human,” he said. “We just do things to make our community better.”
Families chosen for the donations either requested to be part of the program or were referred by neighbors or officers on the streets, Selner said.
The division will also host a similar community fundraiser, Operation Santa, before Christmas. The division hopes to provide toys and gifts to 55 to 60 children this year, Selner said. To make a donation to the police division’s holiday fundraiser, call 937-324-7731.
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