By Jim Misunas
The Great Bend Fraternal Order of Police and the Family Crisis Center joined forces Saturday to spread some holiday cheer.
Members of the Great Bend Fraternal Order of Police made special pre-Thanksgiving deliveries to more than 30 residences Saturday morning. Bags of groceries will help provide Thanksgiving dinners to dozens of families this week.
The Fraternal Order of Police also donated several bags to the Family Crisis Center, which counsels people who are survivors of domestic or sexual abuse.
The Crisis Center offers a variety of services, including protective orders and medical assistance. The Family Crisis Center often gets referrals from law enforcement personnel.
Laura Patzner, director of Family Crisis Center, Inc. in Great Bend. said the police often work with some of the families they are helping.
“It’s a surprise to the people, which makes it a lot of fun,” said Patzner. “The people really appreciate the food, especially this time of the year when budgets are tight. It’s wonderful, especially when we let them know their help is being provided by the Fraternal Order of Police. To see the police in a different light, is really beneficial, not only for the survivors, and those who come in contact with law enforcement, but also for their children.”
Patzner has served as director of Family Crisis Center since 2006. Under her leadership, FCC has increased the number of paid advocates and developed stronger, survivor-driven services in the 10 counties it serves.
The Great Bend Fraternal Order of Police features members from the Barton County sheriff’s department and every city police department in the county — Great Bend, Hoisington, Ellinwood and Claflin.
Detective Terry Millard said FOP members conduct periodic fundraising that help provide assistance for fall and spring assistance. The FOP members enjoy helping during the holidays. This past spring, the Catholic Social Service office provided some families who needed assistance, and police officers came up with more names of other people.
“The guys enjoy helping prepare food baskets for the holidays,” Millard said. “It’s always nice that we can help some needy families in the community. We always provide a couple of baskets for the Crisis Center to help them out.”