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The FOP provides Christmas dinners

After helping young people shop for toys and family gifts earlier this month, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 met again to supply the next important factor of the Christmas celebration — food for dinner.

On Dec. 22, a group of lodge members met behind Walmart on North Main Street to load baskets of food into their vehicles, whether they were personal or marked. Sheriff E.C. Harris, deputies, as well as retired and former Suffolk law enforcement, came to do their part to hand out these boxes of food personally.

“We have been doing this for 23 years, and I am grateful to be given the opportunity to help those who could use a good Christmas dinner,” said Allan Iversen, Lodge 41 director.

Walmart partnered to help provide food items for 15 of the 25 boxes for a discounted price, as they have done in past years. The boxes included potatoes, rolls, turkey, canned corn, green beans, gravy, frozen fruit, stuffing, pie and a gallon of tea. The other 10 boxes came from Food Lion.

“We appreciate them serving the community, and we always look forward to helping them meet needs,” said Lionel Brown, store manager at Walmart. “It’s cool to see people come together for a good cause, especially with everything that’s going on in the world, and they are helping where they can.”

The baskets went to families all over Suffolk, from up to Chuckatuck to down near the North Carolina border. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 finds these families in numerous ways to make sure they give to those who may not receive help from other sources.

“We try to help as many as we can through Social Services, but some haven’t gotten to that point to reach out,” said Deputy Sandy Toby, president of Lodge 41. “Deputies monitor these families and check in with them. Also, some churches recommended families like Main Street Methodist, who gave us the names for three families.”

Despite COVID-19 limiting fundraising, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 was still able to raise enough money to provide for 25 families. The baskets’ recipients were overwhelmed by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 and the Suffolk community’s generosity for turning this project into a reality once again.

“I feel so blessed and fortunate,” said Michel’le Wells, a single mother who received one of the food baskets. “It’s been a tough season. I’m just happy that there are people out there that care.”