CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A day of community outreach and helping those in need took place in the Hazelwood neighborhood in West Ashley on Monday. It was a partnership between the Charleston Police Department and Columbia-based non-profit, Serve & Connect.

It was made possible by Serve & Connect’s ‘Greg’s Groceries’ program. Since its inception, the program has packed 80,000 meals. Dozens more were added to that tally as CPD officers and other volunteers packed boxes of non-perishable items and delivered them around the neighborhood.

“This is truly a way for officers to interact, to build trust, and to have non-enforcement interactions with communities,” said Jenny Wooten, a representative of Serve & Connect.

CPD has been working on building trust within the community and the event was one more way to do it.

“The ultimate goal is to actually deter crime and open that bridge,” said Robert York, who works with CPD’s community outreach efforts.

The event killed two birds with one stone, providing food to people in need and community outreach.

According to the Lowcountry Food Bank, 185,000 people across the Lowcountry are food insecure. This number has spiked during the pandemic.

One neighbor, Leroy Bennett says he was very thankful to receive some extra food and appreciates the efforts made by CPD officers.

“When I woke up and see all of this greatness was going on and see all of this great giving to the needy and the poor,” said Bennett. “We thank you and appreciate what you all have done for us this day.”​

CPD says more events like this will be held in the future.

For more about Serve & Connect and its mission, click here.