COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Law enforcement from dozens of agencies in South Carolina got together in Columbia to pack 30,000 meals for families in need.
About thirty-six different agencies were represented Thursday. They packed a total of 1,600 boxes.
They did this to honor a fallen police officer. Six years ago to the day, Forest Acres Police Officer Greg Alia was killed in the line of duty.
His widow Kassy Alia Ray founded Serve and Connect to help build partnerships and relationships between the community and law enforcement. One of the programs they’ve created is Greg’s Groceries.
The program equips law enforcement with non-perishable food items to give out to families in need in their community.
Organizers say since the start of the program they have given out more than 80,000 meals and they have another 30,000 waiting to be given out after Thursday’s packing event.
Timmonsville Police Chief Thomas McFadden was helping box some items Thursday morning. He said, “We’re a big team working for a common goal.”
According to Chief McFadden, his department started participating in the program earlier this year. He said it’s made an immediate impact and helped his officers get to know the community.
He said, “The first time we did it, people would see my car and be a little nervous. They would say, ‘I wonder what the Chief is up to?’ No, when I pull up they say, ‘Hey Chief, how you doing?'”
Officers with the Spartanburg Police Department also started taking part in the program recently. Captain Tim Suber was in Columbia with at least two other officers from the department Thursday. He said, “We want folks to understand it’s not an ‘Us against Them’ thing. We are a part of the community through and through.”
Chief McFadden said after everything everyone has been through during the last year and a half, he’s glad everyone can do something positive together. He said, “We’re not just giving back to Timmonsville but the entire state of South Carolina. I really hope this goes nationwide.”
The Greg’s Groceries program got a big boost Thursday. Organizers announced a $125,000 donation from AT&T and FirstNet to expand their efforts.
Right now, agencies in about half of South Carolina’s counties participate in the program.