By Steve Jones
This past week, the Tacoma Police Department blessed Tacoma with Thanksgiving cheer. Members of the TPD leadership team distributed over 1,000 turkeys with accompanying side dishes to families who braved the weather and very long lines to take advantage of this Thanksgiving blessing.
In addition to the TPD, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Tacoma Ministerial Alliance and neighborhood young people volunteered their time to share the Thanksgiving cheer. It should be noted that the only participants who objected to this were the turkeys who insisted they did not volunteer!
Chief Moore and the TPD leadership team made sure to personally greet people during the giveaway.
The idea for the event came from Tacoma Police Department Chief Avery Moore. Enlisting others from the department, sponsors were located, and food collected. Food giveaways at the Tacoma Dome, Eastside Community Center, and the Salishan Community Center were conducted over two days.
Pastor Will Mitchell of Bethlehem Baptist Church said that the need for the food “was much greater than the community was aware.” He pointed out that food banks are struggling to stock their shelves. “The event,” he continued, “met a real need at a critical time for families in the area.” Bethlehem Baptist provided volunteers to handle this event with young people handing out the turkeys and side dishes.
A large sign gave special thanks to those businesses and civic organizations that demonstrated their care for the residents of Tacoma.
Neighbors around the Eastside Community Center watched as hundreds of cars queued and received their turkey and side dishes. The lines were managed by a TPD officer who pointed out the lines extending both north and south on Portland Avenue and as far as one could see looking west on 56th Street. Unfortunately, the need outstripped supplies. Those who did get a turkey expressed a sincere gratitude. As they drove away, the last they heard was, “Happy Thanksgiving!”
Certain that the TPD does not have a turkey farm, one realized an event like this had to have a very significant co-sponsor list. A large sign placed at the front of the distribution line provided the names of the businesses and community organizations involved in the giveaway – special thanks from the community to those businesses and civic organizations who, again, demonstrated their care for the residents of Tacoma.
The joy in helping others was seen on the smiling faces of everyone who volunteered for the giveaway.
One might have expected the TPD to be in uniform. Instead, they donned their weekend street clothes. I was impressed that the four members of the TPD leadership team who were there were actively involved in the operation and taking time to meet the people they were serving. Chief Moore would lean in the car windows, introduce himself, and offer a “very Happy Thanksgiving” and a “God bless you” as they drove away. A very impressive display of police community involvement.
At a time when gratitude for the police in the community might seem to be at an ebb, everyone who lined up patiently waiting for their turkey saw a police department leadership team who deeply cares for their community. All who saw left with a sincere appreciation.