"Project Thank You" aims to show appreciation to local police
We're just a couple of days away from the official start of summer, but it sure does feel like it already.
Some police officers spend hours in the community answering calls in the grueling heat. An effort called "Project Thank You" hopes to make their day a little brighter.
The idea started two years ago when organizers say the increase in gang-related shootings at the time inspired the effort. They saw a need and wanted to show police their appreciation.
When an officer is dispatched to a call, they don't hesitate to respond. Some days they spend hours on location with little food or water.
"They give their lives every day; they do everything for us and protect us," Mary Dishman said. "I just want to give back a little. It's not a lot, but it's just a little bit."
It's why several organizations including Harvest Bible Chapel teamed up through "Project Thank You" to show support and love for the men and women in blue.
"We recognize what they give up and what they sacrifice every day, putting their lives in danger for our community, and we just want to say thank you to them," Jen Akers, of Harvest Bible Chapel, said.
For the last week, the church has opened up their doors, and people have opened their hearts.
"Water mostly, snacks, and even coupons for food places so they can go out and eat," Dishman said.
As well as sunscreen, cooling towels and hand sanitizer, items officers can use while on duty.
"Things that aren't provided to them by the police department but that can just be a blessing to them as they're on duty," Akers said.
With the donations, the group hopes to stuff 1,000 bags so each officer can have enough for the next several weeks.
For them, it's not about the applause; it's about backing the blue and showing appreciation for the sacrifices they make to protect the community.
"We just want to partner with them and say 'hey thanks for doing that for our community' and also let them know that we're praying for them every day," she said.
There are about 500 officers in Chattanooga and the group hopes to pack the bags Tuesday night and deliver them Wednesday afternoon.
This is the third year of "Project Thank You," and organizers hope to make it an annual tradition.