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Police, VFW seek donors for holiday food and gift drive

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published October 28, 2015

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Since 1994, Troy police and VFW Post 4037 have teamed up to ensure families in need enjoy the holiday season.

Troy Police Chief Gary Mayer said he started the drive when he was a lieutenant working midnight road patrols and saw people in Troy with financial hardships.

He said people think of Troy as a wealthy city and don’t realize there are people in need.

Mayer said he talked to someone he knew who also worked midnights and was involved with the VFW. They rallied the resources of the Troy Police Department and the VFW, and the drive began.

“We started smaller and built it up to serve more people, with more people volunteering and giving and helping out,” Mayer said.

Troy Police Sgt. Meghan Lehman, who is coordinating the program this year, said they are looking to expand it to include more sponsors and recipients.

She explained that sponsors may contribute by adopting a family, making a cash donation or donating nonperishable food to the effort.

Recipients include struggling families, senior citizens with no family, or any Troy resident in need. The police obtain the names of recipient families from Troy Youth Assistance, Troy People Concerned, the Troy Community Coalition and the Troy School District. Nonperishable food items may be dropped off at Troy Police Headquarters, 500 W. Big Beaver Road.

“We’re glad to be involved in carrying on this great tradition,” Lehman said. “We’re looking to make it the biggest and best year possible.”

Each recipient family or individual receives holiday gifts and food from donations received.

“We are looking for sponsors,” said Mike McHale, commander of VFW Post 4037. “We have a long-standing relationship with the Troy Police Department. Some Troy police are VFW members. We were well-suited for a partnership when the need came up.”

He said that the VFW is “always looking for a way to support the community.”

Mayer said he took his then-young son and daughter with him to deliver toys and gifts when the drive first started.

“The 5-year-old who lived there said ‘thanks for the food,’” Mayer said, noting that his daughter, then 7, was impressed that the child was more thankful for the food than the toys.

“It’s important not to forget people having hard times,” Mayer said.

Checks may be made out to Troy VFW Post 4037 and dropped off at Troy Police Headquarters or VFW Post 4037, 2375 E. Maple Road.

For more information, call Alicia Agrusso at (248) 524-3462 or email Alicia.Agrusso@troymi.gov.

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