The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office joined several other groups on Monday to help make Thanksgiving dinner extra special for needy families in the community.
The sheriff’s office is one of six law enforcement agencies in the Midlands that partnered with Serve & Connect, a nonprofit organization that aims to foster positive change through sustainable police-community partnerships.
Kassy Alia Ray founded the Columbia-based organization in memory of her late husband, Officer Gregory Alia, who was killed in the line of duty in 2015.
"We are honored to support this initiative in collaboration with several of our law enforcement partners. The food deliveries provide an additional opportunity for officers to interact with communities in a positive, non-enforcement way," said Ray, who is also chief executive officer of the nonprofit.
"The deliveries also share love and support with families in need during this holiday season and build community through connection," she said.
Sheriff’s office officials and other partners from the Orangeburg County School District and Randolph Artisan Italian Ice & Gelato gathered Monday morning at the sheriff’s office headquarters on Ellis Avenue before heading out to deliver 75 hams to families in need.
Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said, “It’s always good to have partners in our community that are concerned about our community.
“Law enforcement in these days and times always get a bad rap on different things, but this time of year we want to just give back to our community and show people that we’re really concerned. … It’s just great to give back.”
Donations from the BI-LO Gives Foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation and the South Carolina Bar Foundation have enabled Serve & Connect to secure Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of individuals across six Midlands locations.
The generosity enabled law enforcement agencies to hand-deliver 775 free turkeys, hams and produce bags to pre-selected families in need during the week of Thanksgiving.
In addition to the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, other participating law enforcement agencies include: Lexington Police Department, Columbia Police Department, Camden Police Department, Kershaw County Sheriff's Office and Fairfield County Sheriff's Office.
Zea Folk, the Orangeburg County liaison with Serve & Connect, said, “We have a continued partnership with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Ravenell. We chose to give thanks to the community and partner with them in providing hams.”
“We want the community to know that the police department still has a heart and cares about them and that the community can come together and work together,” she said.
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