At an event to celebrate the monumental growth of Greg’s Groceries, a police-community relations program started by Serve & Connect, a Columbia based nonprofit, AT&T and FirstNet presented the organization with a $125,000 contribution to further expand the reach and impact of Greg’s Groceries.
In the last 12 months, Greg’s Groceries has experienced significant growth, with delivery currently in 47 percent of South Carolina counties and over 36 police partners.
“We really see first responders and their support, not only as an honor but an obligation. We see Serve & Connect as a bridge for the police and the community relationship,” said Amanda Taylor, S.C. regional director for AT&T.
Demonstrating that growth and commitment to community relations, three dozen agencies across South Carolina, including representatives from South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), gathered at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy September 30 to assemble 1,600 nonperishable food boxes for their local communities. The boxes will provide an anticipated 30,000 meals.
“SLED is honored to partner with Serve & Connect in a continued effort to support community policing in South Carolina. Our community relations agents are integrated in communities across the state to provide support to local agencies and the communities they serve. Serve & Connect provides the necessary tools, especially Greg’s Groceries, to assist our efforts in bringing the community and police together,” shared SLED Chief Mark Keel.
Officers showed their continued commitment to community relations and the Greg’s Groceries program while also honoring the memory of Forest Acres Police Officer Greg Alia on the sixth anniversary of his death. Alia was killed in the line of duty on September 30, 2015. Greg’s Groceries is named after Officer Alia.
“Greg said for every one negative story we hear in the news, there are thousands of positive stories happening every day between police and community,” shared Kassy Alia Ray, Serve & Connect CEO. “ Through Greg’s Groceries, we are able to spread small acts of kindness between police and community and enhance police departments’ ability to implement effective community policing practices.”
Departments and officers were recognized for their outstanding work with the Greg’s Groceries program over the last 12 months including Timmonsville Police Department, which was among the departments that delivered the most boxes so far in 2021.
“Initiatives such as Greg’s Groceries are important for building trust within a community,” according to Timmonsville Police Department Chief Thomas McFadden. McFadden wanted his department involved because he wanted his officers interacting with the people they serve in a positive setting. I like to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement. I think somewhere in the past few years that got lost.”
Once the packing event ended, police agencies took boxes of Greg’s Groceries to their local communities for officers to deliver to families and people in need.
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