Police officers in Illinois are giving their community members some extra love and care this Thanksgiving as they serve meals to those in need. According to CBN News, for their third annual, “Because We Care Thanksgiving Dinner,” dozens of police officers served 400 pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, green beans and a delicious spread of desserts to community members. The dinner was organized by Sherrod’s Independent Mentoring Program Inc. (SIMP), hosted by Decatur’s Good Samaritan Inn, and sponsored by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Decatur Memorial Hospital, and multiple law enforcement agencies.
Volunteers served over 170 members of their community who may have gone without a Thanksgiving meal if it weren’t for the kindness and generosity of these special law enforcement officers. Serving alongside the officers, youth were also present at the event. Working with officers gave youth the opportunity to build positive relationships with one another through sharing the experience of working together as a team to help their community and give back to others.
Dr. Jarmese Sherrod, who runs SIMP, shared that fostering a positive relationship between youth and law enforcement is part of her goal. Sherrod praised the dinner saying, “we need to have positive events like this on a regular basis where we are constantly giving back and showing people that we care. And this is one of the things I love about today.”
Gregory Wheeler, Oreana Police Department Chief, agreed with Sherrod, adding that the event allows the community to see law enforcement as “other than just a uniform,” and “allows people to interact with us without having had a problem.”
For law enforcement officers, giving is something they do every day of the year as they risk their lives to protect their community. With this Thanksgiving event, community members see how their police officers go above and beyond to help them because they care so much about those they serve. As youth work alongside law enforcement, the positive experience can help build good relationships giving both a wonderful memory to look back on that they shared together.