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Turkeys instead of tickets: Kirtland police hand out food for Thanksgiving

KIRTLAND, Ohio-- Some local police officers were handing out turkeys, instead of tickets, Wednesday night, as they helped out less fortunate people in their community.

They provided food to families that might otherwise struggle to eat a Thanksgiving meal.

"I'm privileged to work here as an officer and when we find people in need, we want to help as much as we can. And this is just a way of doing that," said Kirtland Police Sgt. Jamey Fisher.

Officers and dispatchers raised the money to provide food to about 10 families. They expanded on the national "No Shave November" campaign that raises money for cancer research.

"We do donate, however, we take a little slice of that to give back to our own community," Fisher said.

After the boxes and bags were packed, the officers and dispatchers hit the streets to make their special deliveries.  One of their stops was the home of Tammy Sydenstricker and her two sons.

"Being a single mom, you know, just two boys that are, they eat a lot, you know... One of the biggest expenses is food and this will be welcomed very well,” she said.

Police said they usually learn about struggling families through word of mouth.

"We're small and everybody kind of knows people, so through the trickle down effect, we get word," Sgt. Fisher said.

They said the action is part of their chief's golden rule.

"He wants us to treat everybody we come across, the way we want a police officer to treat our families," Lt. Lance Nosse said.

"We would have had a lot less to eat for sure. We don't have a turkey, we don't, we don't have a pie, so this completes the meal. We're really thankful," Sydenstricker said.

"It's not always about taking people to jail. It's about what difference can I make in their life, in a small gesture because that's what we're here for," Fisher said.

This is the second year that police in Kirtland have handed out Thanksgiving meals.

Kirtland police said the Lavera Party Center in Willoughby Hills and the Giant Eagle in Willoughby helped provide food.  Giant Eagle also donated $25 gift cards.