Kent State Police Serve Up Turkeys and Holiday Cheer for Local Residents
Officers from Kent State University Police Services have always had a “protect and serve” philosophy, and recently, they put this philosophy in action in order to help families in need.
Each year, the department holds a “Glow, Grow and Give” fundraiser throughout the month of November to raise money for a worthy cause. The staff members can donate $30, and in return, they may grow out beards (for men), dye their hair pink or blue or paint their fingernails.
“These are things that are normally against department regulation, so it’s a real treat for us to be able to express ourselves,” Officer Shauntya Brown said. “Plus, it’s always for a great cause.”
This year, the fundraiser allowed the officers to purchase 25 frozen turkeys and $200 in gift cards from ACME Market for Kent Social Services to give to local families in need over the holiday season. Every year, Kent Social Services partners with the Center of Hope in Ravenna, which distributes about 800 turkeys and food boxes throughout the area.
“Everyone should have access to a hot meal during the holidays,” said Marquice Seward, assistant programming manager of Kent Social Services. “We just try to do whatever we can to make that happen.”
Ms. Seward also said the police department’s donation will make a huge difference to families in Kent and Ravenna.
“All of our 800 turkeys come from outside donations,” Ms. Seward said. “Donations like these really go a long way. That (includes) 25 families that will benefit specifically from Kent State Police Services’ generosity. It’s very heartwarming that people come together and make a difference because this is how we do it.”
Kent State Police Services Officer Vance Voyles, who arranged the contributions with Kent Social Services, said the donations inspire the officers as much as they do the recipients.
“I think it’s important to realize that everybody wants to help national and global causes, but we have a lot of things going on locally that need our help,” Officer Voyles said.
Bill Buckbee, Kent State’s assistant chief of police, believes the officers benefit by seeing where their contributions are going.
“In the past, we’ve donated to more nationally based programs, but we didn't really get to see the impact,” Assistant Chief Buckbee said. “This year, we wanted to do something that was local and had a direct influence on our community.”
Officer Brown said that fundraising and service projects like this are one of her favorite parts of the job.
“Police Services does a fantastic job of emphasizing the ‘serve’ aspect of our ‘protect and serve’ motto,” Officer Brown said. “I think it’s important that people know that. What I love about my job is that I genuinely help make my local community a better place.”
The “Grow, Glow and Give” fundraiser will continue throughout December which includes a pancake breakfast with Santa for the LIFE Program for single parents on campus. Each child will receive a gift and pictures with Santa, and each parent will receive a small present with a gift card – all funded by the Kent State Police Services’ fundraiser.