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Fairbanks law enforcement collect $66,000 for Food Bank, breaking 17 yr. collection drive record

The APOA Law Enforcement Food Drive brought in $66,026 in food and cash from Alaska State Troopers, North Pole Police Department, Fairbanks Police Department, University Police Department, Airport Police and Fire, and 354th Security Forces Squadron.
Captain Ron Wall of the Alaska State Troopers and Chief Steve Dutra fist bump after they broke...
Captain Ron Wall of the Alaska State Troopers and Chief Steve Dutra fist bump after they broke the record for a food drive for the Fairbanks Community Food Bank.(John Dougherty/KTVF)
Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:07 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - At around 9 a.m. Monday, 10 pickup trucks from Gene’s Chrysler and Stanley Nissan pulled into the parking lot of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank. They were escorted by Alaska State Troopers as they carried pallets of food collected during the Alaska Peace Officers Association (APOA) law enforcement food drive this year. Departments from around the Fairbanks area managed to collect $66,026 in food and cash from Alaska State Troopers, North Pole Police Department (NPPD), Fairbanks Police Department, University Police Department, Airport Police and Fire, and 354th Security Forces Squadron.

“Not only is it big for us, and the biggest food drive in the history of the food bank -- absolutely outstanding -- but beyond that, what a great opportunity for us to show our support to the local community... and what an even better opportunity for the local community to show their support to law enforcement,” said SMSgt Jason Parrish, president of the Farthest North APOA.

The different departments held events and fundraisers to gather the food and money. NPPD, which won the food drive last year, held a Halloween drive-through event to help collect food was able to raise over $11,000 in food and cash this year.

Last year the event brought in around $8,700 total. This year the fight was personal for Alaska State Trooper ‘D’ Detachment Captain Ron Wall.

“My little brother, Steve Dutra, Chief of North Pole, beat us last year, and it’s been a little bit of a point of contention. I am a board member on the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, and to have somebody beat you at the event you envisioned winning really sparked a bit of competition," Wall said.

Not wanting to repeat his loss, Wall and the troopers got hard to work promoting the event and reaching out to friends and family for donations. By the time they were done, they had raised over $44,000 in food and cash for the Food Bank. That brought the total donation from law enforcement to over $66,000.

This massive donation smashed the food drive record that was held by the Tanana Valley State Fair. In 2003, they managed to collect around $55,000 in food and cash during their canned food day at the fair.

Anne Weaver, the CEO of the Food Bank said that after the pandemic, their shelves were getting empty.

“We have lost five food drives over the course of the last seven months. You guys just single-handedly filled the shelves, and over and above what we would have gained had the five food drives happened," Weaver said.

Weaver added that this donation will help them get through the winter and holiday months, the busiest time for the Food Bank.

For law enforcement, it is about more than just giving back. They said that the food bank helps them -- and that with all the civil unrest, they wanted to show that they support the community everyday.

“What a great privilege that we were able to get together with our community and break the all time Food Bank record. I mean it’s truly an honor,” Wall said.

Wall says he hopes the idea spreads to the rest of the state and even country as a way for law enforcement to work with their communities to help the community.

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