The sidewalk at the Columbus Public Safety Center was abuzz with activity Saturday morning as the Fraternal Order of Police and volunteers filled 36 food boxes for the needy during the Christmas season.
“I think it sends a great message,” said retired Columbus Police Sgt. Dan Scoggins. “It’s a great opportunity to get out into the community for a different reason than you normally do every day.”
Scoggins coordinated the gift boxes for the police department and continued that effort with the Columbus Exchange Club after he retired. He was among the 60 volunteers and law enforcement officers lining the sidewalk to fill each box with a fresh ham, vegetables, fruit and other staples for the holiday.
With a utility truck full for food parked near the community room at the department, officers formed a chain near the boxes as each was filled with more than 20 items, including a Christmas card.
For Deputy Lucia Heston of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, it was her first time preparing boxes for needy residents at Christmas. It turned out to be more than she thought.
“I thought it might be a couple of small food items but a whole ham, vegetables, a Christmas card,” she said. “It is what Christmas is about.” Heston, who has almost three years with the sheriff’s office, said she loves her job and she realizes how officers make a difference in the community.
Other public safety departments taking part in the preparing the food boxes were Columbus police, Muscogee County Marshal’s Office and the Muscogee County Prison. The boxes were placed in patrol vehicles and delivered to families by noon.
The Fraternal Order of Police will spread more holiday cheer on Thursday when law enforcement officers take low income children on a shopping trip.