The Clark State College Criminal Justice Club will partner again with the Springfield Police Division (SPD) and Meijer on November 23, for Operation Thanksgiving. The program will donate Thanksgiving meals and supplements to 25 families identified by SPD.
“Service to others is a fundamental part of criminal justice,” said Karen Benton, associate professor and criminal justice program coordinator at Clark State. “Criminal justice students at Clark State are provided opportunities to learn our community resources and also understand limitations that impact citizen’s quality of life. This activity provides our students with the opportunity to see how community organizations and members can come together to support those in need.”
Clark State criminal justice and police academy students collected non-perishable food items throughout the month of October. Students will assist with securing additional food items at Meijer that morning made possible through monetary donations to the Springfield Police Department.
The Box 21 truck will be utilized to deliver the dinners and supplemental food items to a staging area. The items will be sorted and boxed by volunteers from the SPD Alumni Association and Clark State students for 25 identified families in need, as opposed to 10 families that have historically been served in the past.
“The impact of COVID in our community has contributed to the need for more families to be assisted this year,” said Benton.
Operation Thanksgiving has been serving families in the community for 30 years. This is the fourth year the Clark State Criminal Justice Club has participated since it was established in 2018.
“I’m proud the club members realize they need to have an understanding of all people that they serve,” said Benton. “This gives them the chance to actually compare what is discussed in the classrooms to who they will be working with. They will see that community is part of the partnership.”