Tallmadge -- Two annual fundraisers organized by Tallmadge police help put smiles on the faces of needy families and children during the holidays.
The first is the department's annual Fill-A-Cruiser event which took place on a very snowy Dec. 14 at the Giant Eagle at 205 West Ave. and the Acme Fresh Market at 600 South Ave.
In addition to police personnel collecting food and clothing for the Tallmadge Good Neighbors, members of the Mandalorian Mercenaries, Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion costuming groups were on hand to pose for photos and help with the collection.
Tallmadge Police Sgt. Doug Bohon, who coordinated the Fill-A-Cruiser event, called this year's fundraiser "a success," noting enough non-perishable food and other needed items were collected that could've filled at least a dozen cruisers.
"In addition, members of the community gave more than $1,500 in donations,"a $500 increase from 2012, he noted.
Bohon offered a tip of the cap to Giant Eagle Store Manager Joe Rinaldi and staff and Acme Store Manager Bill Haliko and staff for allowing the use of their stores for the fundraiser, as well as the donations and contributions made by each business.
"Volunteers from the entire police department participated in making the event a success, from our patrol and detective divisions to our administrative support staff and auxiliary units," Bohon said.
Bohon also expressed his gratitude to Officer Dave Quillen and his volunteers from the Star Wars costuming groups.
"Unquestionably, their presence helped raise contributions and members of the public loved having their photos taken with them," he added.
Humbled by the community's generosity, Bohon said "It's always a pleasant reminder to see just how giving the people of our community are in support of one another. This year's donations and food collected were the most yet in our event's history and it's all due to the good people of our community and our local businesses."
The Tallmadge Good Neighbors is one of seven Good Neighbors branches in Summit County. The organization assists residents with food and clothing. It is a 501c(3), so donations are tax deductible. Tallmadge Good Neighbors maintains special programs for Easter, Back to School, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Tallmadge Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 111 partnered with Tallmadge City Schools for this year's Shop A Cop event.
Tallmadge police Lt. Ron Williams said the fundraiser has been going on for many years and involves selling raffle tickets to raise money to send needy Tallmadge kids on a shopping spree.
This year four officers participated with 16 Munroe Elementary School children. The children are selected by school staff based on need.
"Every year, this event becomes more special to us," said Tallmadge police Det. Jeremy McGee. "Many of the children shoppers get very little, or nothing at all, for Christmas. With the community's help, we are able to bring Christmas to many needy children within our city."
To raise money for this year's event, a tablet packet which included a Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch (Wi-Fi 8 GB Black), a book style case and a $25 gift card for Google play (app store) was up for raffle.
This year $1,685 was collected by the FOP. Officers and school staffers headed to Walmart in Brimfield Dec. 19 to help the children Christmas shop for themselves and family members before heading to lunch at Beef 'O' Brady's.
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