By danny restivo
Township officers hope to fill their patrol vehicles with something other than criminals this weekend.
The police department is asking residents and shoppers to help fill a cruiser full of nonperishable food and personal-care items Saturday. Officers will park a patrol car outside Churchill Commons on Belmont Avenue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., before taking the donations to Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley.
“We’re just trying to do our part during this time of the year,” said Officer Rob Altier.
Becky Miller, resource development manager for Second Harvest, said donations are much needed in the winter. Less-fortunate families have to budget for heating costs, as well as food, she said.
“We greatly appreciate what they’re doing,” said Miller. “Our need always goes up this time of the year.”
Altier said he hopes they can fill the cruiser more than once Saturday. He will bring his personal truck to load food in case the police vehicle fills up.
“We’re going to bring everything right back to the department once it’s filled,” he said.
The food bank provides food to 14,000 people a week from the Valley. Second Harvest distributes to 153 hunger-relief organizations, including church pantries, soup kitchens and shelters for battered woman.
By parking the vehicle outside the Giant Eagle, Altier said he and his fellow officers are in the best position for charitable residents to drop off a food item. He believes its the easiest way for shoppers to donate a newly purchased item before heading to their cars.
“We just want the community to help out a little, ” he said.