Anonymous donor sends 1,200 barbecue meals to Columbus police

The only thing that came with the City Barbeque delivered to Columbus police headquarters Thursday was a bright blue card that read: “Thank you for keeping Columbus safe. May God bless you and keep you safe.”

Police spokeswoman Denise Alex-Bouzounis made sure to show the note to every officer who stopped by to pick up a meal.

Though officers and police personnel have no idea who the benefactor was, Alex-Bouzounis said the food was donated by a close friend of Chief Kim Jacobs’.

“She said, ‘Oh, you know, with everything going on in our country and the dislike against police officers, I want to do something to help them,’” Alex-Bouzounis said. “And she said, ‘What can I do?’”

Jacobs suggested her friend send a card or letter to officers. “She said ‘No, I want to do more,’” Alex-Bouzounis said.

The meals were delivered twice a day beginning Tuesday to police headquarters Downtown and a Morse Road station. The last of the meals went out Thursday.

“She set it up and wanted to make sure it wasn’t just the people working the 9-to-5 shift,” Alex-Bouzounis said. “She wanted the overnights. She wanted every area of the city to get it.”

In all, 1,200 meals were delivered.

“It’s nice to see and experience the public’s … generosity,” said Mark Jameson, a burglary unit detective, who picked up a bag of barbecue Downtown on Thursday. “It’s a small token, obviously, of the appreciation that society does show us and that not everyone out there is against the cops.”

The food was one of many gifts that have poured into police headquarters since the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas this month.

“I’ve had parents come up with their kids and their kids give me a hug,” said Sgt. John Hurst, who works in the child-abuse unit. “I think maybe before, they didn’t feel the need or felt a little shy about it.

“It’s sad it takes tragedy sometimes to have people look at situations or look at police differently.”

Gifts have included posters, cards, candy, cakes, doughnuts and pizza, Alex-Bouzounis said.

Patrol Sgt. Lindsey Alli jokingly called it “Christmas in July.”

“It gets stressful, but you know that the majority of society and the majority of the community are there and they have our backs,” Alli said.

ebohatch@dispatch.com

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