It was just a routine scan of Craigslist, looking for possible illicit activity in Roeland Park. Police officers then stumbled across a month-old advertisement from a young mother of two asking for food.
“Hi there. 22 yr old mom with a 2 year old and due October 15. Having hard time keeping food in the house for us. Was wondering if there was anyone willing to donate food,” read the message. “I live in roeland park. Unfortunately I don’t have a vehicle to meet . Will be super grateful for whatever we receive.thank you”
Police found a second post from the young mother after she gave birth. She was having health complications and needed bed rest, but she had car trouble and no way to pick up groceries she couldn’t afford to buy. She only asked for someone to pick up food at a nearby pantry and bring it to her home.
John Morris, police chief of Roeland Park, reached out to her right away and, after exchanging contact information, she called the police station to tell them about her situation with her toddler and 3-week-old infant. An hour or so later, they came to her home with food for weeks.
The officers collected food items from Ball’s Sun Fresh on South 18th Street (one of the police officers also works as a store director there). Price Chopper in Roeland Park also donated food for the care package.
Their delivery to her home came Nov. 16, just a week before Thanksgiving. Morris said it’s “just a nice thing” the officers like to do, especially around the holiday season. Roeland Park police has helped other families in need of assistance, but this is the first time they found a family through an ad on Craigslist.
“We’ve done other community things when people that were in need,” Morris said, “you know, incidents of shoplifters over at Walmart, we’re able to assist them.”
Morris said he and his officers are public servants who are “very fortunate” to have good jobs and good benefits. This is a way of giving back.
“Obviously, most people don’t call us unless they really need something,” he said. “It’s not like they just invite us over for lunch and coffee or anything like that. They always call us because they have a problem.
“If we can assist somebody, if we have the means and the opportunity to do it, we will do everything that we can, especially around the holiday season. It just makes you feel good that you can give back a little bit. It’s a win-win, not only for the officers, but it’s also a win for the community.”