With the tragic loss of two officers and the onset of the resort season's biggest holiday, the Ocean City Police Department is facing dual challenges this week.
That's why Kathy Jacobs decided the town's police could use some additional community support in the wake of the deaths of officers Thomas J. Geoghegan Jr., 43, of Ocean City and Joshua D. Adickes, 27, of Berlin, in a small plane crash on Sunday.
Jacobs is organizing meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - for the department's staff through the end of the week.
"Traditionally, when someone dies in your family, local neighbors and churches bring food and things to your house because you lost a family member," Jacobs explained. "The police department is like a brotherhood, almost. But they don’t take time off to grieve and mourn, because it’s their job and they can’t. So I thought I would take that concept on a community level and see what happened."
She reached out to businesses in Ocean City, seeking donations of food, water, drinks and other supplies to cover the officers' shifts. The response was terrific, she said, with offers coming from places that don't even normally prepare food.
"The community involvement has been overwhelmingly great," Jacobs said. Many restaurants have come forward to help, including The General's Kitchen, where the owner has offered free meals to any officer who comes in to eat from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Other businesses participating in what Jacobs has dubbed a "meal rally," include Mug and Mallet, The Original Greene Turtle, Atlantic B&B, Lombardi’s Pizza, Billy’s Sub Shop, Ponzetti’s Pizza, Seacrets, Sea Hawk Motel, JR’s Ribs, Desserts by Rita, BJ's on the Water and Brandywine Senior Living at Fenwick Island, where Jacobs works as director of community relations.
More donations are still needed to cover the department's busiest shifts on the Fourth of July holiday itself. Jacobs welcomes those who want to help to contact her at 302-388-4730. But please don't take items on your own, she said, because the police are busy and bringing donations directly to the station has the potential to make things more difficult for them.
"The police are working hard with grief in their heart…they’re still going on and doing their job," Jacobs said. "Having food is just a way to show our support. It’s a way of giving them a big community hug, if you will."