Three police associations in Toms River, New Jersey, came together to give back to their communities during this difficult time.
In the wake of one of the worst public health crises to hit the United States in the recent past, it can be difficult to keep spirits up and get on with daily life. Whether you have been stuck at home for weeks now or just don't have the bandwidth to deal with your family another day, self-isolation and social distancing can do a number on you. A team of police officers in New Jersey understood this. Therefore, they decided to celebrate Pizza Day, CNN reports. They ordered a couple of hundred pizzas and safely invited residents in the neighborhood to pick them up. Needless to say, it was a huge hit.
Three police associations in Toms River, New Jersey, came together to pull off the event. Officer Jesse Robertazzi was inspired to hold the celebration after he saw a post on Facebook of his colleagues hosting their own Pizza Day. After making a call to his fellow officers to let them know he was "stealing" their idea, he set off on planning the big day. Officer Robertazzi sent out a quick group text to a few union members and made a couple of calls to local pizza shops. Then, he was set! The officers paid for the pies with charitable funds from their organizations and uploaded posts on their social media accounts about the event.
The Toms River Police announced, "As COVID-19 consumes reality in our area, its impact on families and local businesses is troubling... Beginning this Thursday, March 2, [six] locally owned pizzerias will be providing 300 pre-purchased large pizzas to Toms River families during these tough times... We are here for our community to support our residents and our local businesses. Stay safe, stay smart, and stay strong!" The post was accompanied by instructions on how to pick up a pizza at a local pie shop. The love and appreciation for the police officers who organized the event almost immediately flowed in.
Michelebal19 commented, "Thank you, that's very generous." Beacheznboatz added, "Toms River police officers are angels in the outfield! Spreading love in hard times... Bless you for the beautiful idea to help the community businesses and the community people!" Others wished the police department well, such as Nipnyc, who wrote, "May the officers reap in tenfold the kindness and compassion bestowed upon the communities they serve and protect." The department's pizza day was, without a doubt, a huge hit. All six local pizza shops ran out of the 50 allotted pizzas in no time. One pie shop even threw in a side of garlic knots for their customers.
Officer Robertazzi hopes Pizza Day cheered up the residents of Toms River. "Our duty is to give back to the community," he said in an interview with CNN. "To give back to the community who are out of work and struggling at the time -- it gets them a free meal. It's one free meal and it's something. After Hurricane Sandy, we were on long, stationary 24-hour checkpoints during the winter. The residents provided us with food, coffee, and firewood. They came through for us. We want to give back and come through for them." At the Toms River Police Department, it's not been easy for the past few weeks.
One of their police officers recently tested positive for the deadly virus. Robertazzi shared, "We have one member who currently tested positive. It was a rough month, but we believe he is on the mend." Nonetheless, no one is ready to abandon their jobs just yet. In fact, this is probably the first Pizza Day of many more to come. "The unions are going to evaluate how it went," the officer explained. "And we will be doing this again using different pizzerias to spread the business." More police departments across the country should definitely follow suit.