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MCSO cancels Thanksgiving luncheon to help Hurricane Michael victims

MCSO cancels Thanksgiving luncheon to help Hurricane Michael victims (WPEC)

Hurricane Michael tore into the Panhandle last month, bulldozing its way through neighborhoods and towns.

In recent weeks, deputies and police officers from across South Florida have gone there to lend a hand.

One agency has come up with another way to help out.

The Panhandle is hundreds of miles from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office in Stuart, but they know all too well the pain and struggle the people there are going through.

Martin County deputies are up there patrolling and filling in for police officers who have lost their homes and possessions in Hurricane Michael.

Each year, the sheriff’s office has a Thanksgiving luncheon a few days before Thanksgiving.

“It’s an opportunity for everybody in the sheriff’s office, both current and former to get together,” Lt. Ryan Grimsdale said.

Deputies usually chip in to buy turkeys and some people bring side dishes for the luncheon.

But this year, the building where the luncheon is usually served will be empty and there will be no tables full of food.

The luncheon has been canceled.

“The money we would’ve spent for having our own Thanksgiving luncheon, we’re diverting now and bringing up to these two agencies in the Panhandle,” Sheriff William Snyder said.

They’re reaching out to help two small police departments in Springfield and Parker—two small towns in the Florida Panhandle that were hit hard by Hurricane Michael.

“We realize how much we have and how good we have it. We thought hey, the least we can do is reach out and help a little more,” Sheriff Snyder said.

They plan to help every employee in those two small police departments—a total of 39 people---by giving each one an envelope of cash and gift cards so they can buy groceries.

“We can’t just walk away," Snyder said. "They’re in need, we recognize the need. We have to help them."

They’ve also bought all those officers new police uniforms to replace the ones they lost in the hurricane.

“We’ll do what we can do, Snyder said. "I think we’ll make a difference in their lives at least."

People who want to contribute can drop off cash or gift cards at the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and they’ll make sure they get to the police officers in the Panhandle who need the help the most.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office says if you plan to help, please get gift cards at Winn Dixie, Publix or Wal-Mart in small denominations, so they can try to distribute them to everyone in equal amounts.

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