Dozens of police officers in Illinois served their community Sunday afternoon at the third annual "Because We Care Thanksgiving Dinner."
According to CBN News, officers served about 400 pieces of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce and a variety of desserts.
The event was held at Decatur's Good Samaritan Inn and was organized by Sherrod’s Independent Mentoring Program Inc. (SIMP). About 170 people attended the dinner and ate for free.
"The old mindset is we protect and serve and, well, sometimes the serve part is food," Blue Mound Chief of Police Chad Lamb told Herald & Review.
"It's good to be here seeing the smiles on people's faces and knowing we've helped out in the community. It's a fun day for everybody," he added.
Dr. Jarmese Sherrod, who leads SIMP, had a number of sponsors for Sunday's event, including Decatur Memorial Hospital, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and several law enforcement agencies.
"It's about building positive relationships with law enforcement so that people get to know that law enforcement is here to support them," Sherrod said. "And, in fact, to also know that all of Decatur loves them: We've also got volunteers helping out here today as young as middle school students and high school students. So for people who don't have, say, the love and support of family around the holidays, we just want to love on them today with a great meal and a lot of great desserts."
Oreana Police Department Chief Gregory Wheeler explained that the dinner gives the officers a chance to interact with the community outside of the uniform.
"It allows somebody to see us as other than just a uniform," he said. "And it allows people to interact with us without having had a problem."
Sherrod told NowDecatur.com that her goal was to have youth participating alongside the police officers.
"Our youth wanted an event where they could work beside law enforcement to restore positive relationships with them but also to keep having positive things going on so that it was something that showed us uniting together that we can do it," she explained.
"We need to have positive events like this on a regular basis where we are constantly giving back and showing people that we care," she added. "And this is one of the things I love about today.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Choreograph
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.