Baltimore City

Police food drives: joint effort to give to the community

The 11,400 pounds of food arrived in the back of a truck, on schedule and on pallets, and it's now lined against a wall in the entranceway to Baltimore's Northern District police station.

In a few days, officers will tear open the boxes and fill bags for 75 needy families, who will get a turkey dinner and enough leftovers to fill their pantries. The officers, in squad cars, will deliver the goods from the Maryland Food Bank and toys to homes on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23.


And if last year's a guide, there will be more than enough toys to go around.

"We usually have so many that on Christmas, we put them in police wagons and the officers give them to kids on the street," said Sgt. Russ Robar.


City police officers all over the city hold similar food drives. Last year, officers in the Eastern District spent a day sorting through hundreds of boxes of donated food and couldn't keep up with a line of people that stretched out the door.

Police spend their days dealing with people in crisis, as victims of crime or suspected of wrongdoing, trying to help frustrated citizens cope. So Robar didn't mind a bit on Wednesday as he held the door for delivery people as they pulled the pallets of food inside.

The boxes went next to dozens of bags of food already donated by city residents, businesses and community groups. Ruth Alger, president-elect of the Woman's Club of Roland Park, pulled up in an SUV with food from her organization, which has been around since the 1890s.

She and Justin Colebrook, with a little help from Robar, carried it inside. Alger said they've been giving to the Northern District for as long as she can remember. "We're just glad we can help," Alger said.