The Ferris State University Department of Public Safety joined the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department and the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, as part of National Faith and Blue Weekend, to gather resources for Manna Pantry of Big Rapids, based at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. Hosted across the U.S. during the second weekend of October, the goal of National Faith and Blue Weekend is to build bridges to more engaged communities.
Ferris DPS Director John Allen said on Thursday, Oct. 21, five carloads of food items and other family necessities are planned to be delivered to Manna Pantry, a food pantry serving families in Mecosta and Osceola counties. First United Methodist Church has served as a way station since their food drive at grocery stores along Perry Street on Saturday, Oct. 9.
“Detective Sergeant Tim Jacobs and I were joined by a DPS cadet for our collection at Walmart on Perry Street,” Allen said. “We were deliberate about engaging those going in to shop, letting them know what we were doing there while getting a chance to know them better. The community effort to support those in need was a thrill. It was just a fantastic response for a two-hour drive.”
Other agencies and advocates in action that day included Mecosta County Sheriff Brian Miller and Wesley House volunteer Jordan Brinker taking collections at Meijer and Big Rapids DPS officer Thomas Tanner and Rev. Jeremy Wicks receiving goods outside of Aldi. Allen said each of the teams gathered significant contributions to the cause.
“It filled up a room at First United Methodist,” Allen said. “There were five police cars packed with goods when we completed the drive.”
Allen began his duties as Ferris DPS Director on Monday, March 1. He said collaborating with other area agencies on Faith and Blue weekend was an excellent opportunity for outreach, emphasizing helping others.
“I love doing these kinds of events,” Allen said. “Being involved in non-enforcement activities allows us to live out our departmental purpose to protect, serve and unite with the community.”