Local groups band together to feed first responders
How long does it take to put meals together for local heroes?
News 25’s Grant Chighizola spoke to one community group who raced against the clock to serve up good food to first responders today in Gulfport.
It was a marathon finish, but for Richie Valdez and members of the NCN Car Club an idea to help became a reality within 24 hours. “We got fried fish, hamburgers, all the sides. The biggest problem that we ran into, getting, we didn’t realize how hard it would be to get the supplies.”
Once the race to get supplies was complete, the car club, with the help of local businesses such as Keith’s Heating and Air and Dad’s Super Pawn pitching in to help serve lunch at the Gulfport Police Department.
Members of the department and other local agencies made their way on foot, in cars, and even through the air to pick up a homemade treat. “We need to salute them. They don’t need to salute us. We’re just trying to give something back to them. We realize how dangerous this job is.”
Food wasn’t the only thing given away during the day. Departments were put into raffles to win multiple prizes.
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania is one of the many first responders in attendance thankful for the kind gesture. “People like Richie and all these businessmen coming together, coming to the aid of their first responders, you can almost count on it. And I think that’s what makes our community so special, and it’s going to be what gets all of us through it, this kind of unity.”
Though the meals are just one gesture, these first responders now have a new crew of citizens praying for their safety. “These guys come through and check on us. Things are slow, they stop in and we talk to them and they all tell us, we’re doing all we can and trying to stay safe, and we always remind them, stay safe.”