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Police departments band together to fill Bridgeville food bank's shelves

| Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 1:09 a.m.

For some, worrying about how they will provide the next meal for their family is a constant struggle.

Collier police Officer Kris Sabin wants to help alleviate that worry for families in the South Fayette and Chartiers Valley school districts, which is why he reached out to five local police departments in hopes of stocking the shelves of the Bridgeville Community Food Bank.

The idea, Sabin said, started by general conversation in the Home Depot store in the Chartiers Valley Shopping Center in Collier.

“Our local Home Depot did a food drive in December, and the manager approached me asking if I knew of any food banks that could use the items,” Sabin said. The idea sparked Sabin to reach out to friend and fellow law enforcement officer Sgt. Gary James in Bridgeville.

“He thought it would be neat to get as many local police departments to contribute to the drive,” Sabin said.

The idea was to reach out to the departments who service families in the South Fayette and Chartiers Valley communities.

Bridgeville, Collier, Heidelberg, Scott and South Fayette departments agreed to participate, along with local businesses such as Visionary Federal Credit Union, and the Home Depot and Giant Eagle in the Chartiers Valley Shopping Center. So did the Collier Community Center.

In addition to the departments and businesses, first- through eighth-grade students in both districts also are collecting nonperishable, non-expired food items.

“We offered the incentive of a pizza party for whatever class collects the most items,” Sabin said. “The local pizza shops really stepped up to offer donations, too.”

“The police departments have been fabulous. We will make the drop-off around March 14 to the food bank, so that they can have the food available for the St. Patrick's Day weekend,” Sabin said.

Sabin, who has been with the Collier department for 20 years, also researched and consulted with the Bridgeville Community Food Bank, which is operated out of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Bridgeville, to find out what items are in high demand. In addition to nonperishables that aren't expired, the food bank also accepts pet food and items as well. Visionary Federal Credit Union in Collier will match any monetary donations dropped off at the bank.

The drive runs until March 12, with over 20 drop-off locations throughout the area.

South Fayette Township spokeswoman Andrea Iglar said several bags of groceries already have been dropped off at the police station's lobby.

“The South Fayette Township Police Department knows how important it is to provide community-oriented programs and services, and participating in this food drive is one way the police can help citizens in need,” Iglar said.

Sabin hopes this drive will be the first of many, and believes it is incredibly important for all police departments to support their communities.

“The relationship between police departments and community is paramount,” Sabin said. “It instills trust and belief in their police departments that they have their community's best interests in mind.”

Christina Sheleheda is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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