As a worker at LaStalla Italian Market in Newtown, Christina Nelson began using her own money to buy lunch for local police officers as one way to show support for a community leadership role that she believes is too easy to exist as, or morph into, "a thankless job." But she didn't stop there.
"Police officers risk their lives every day to serve and protect our community to ensure we all live in a safe environment. I felt they needed to be shown some steady love and support," says Christina, who launched a "Fuel The Force" initiative, which as of press time, has amassed almost $20,000.
While on duty, officers of the Middletown Township, Yardley Borough, Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Upper Makefield and Lower Makefield police departments can eat for free at LaStralla, Tre Fratelli, Colonial Farms and Villa Rosa restaurants. Christina says Tre Fratelli also covers Langhorne Borough Police Department, Langhorne Manor Police Department, as well as Penndel and Tullytown Police Departments.
Northampton Township Police Department officers can eat at Gianni’s Pizza and Pallante's Italian Deli, while the Warwick Township police officers can eat at Randazzo's Pizza. These 'thank you' meals are all made possible through residents’ in-person donations at the eateries and GoFundMe fundraisers.
Fuel The Force also now supports special events, such as the Shop With A Cop program, by sponsoring a hole at this year's Golf Outing Fundraiser in September.
"The goal is to sign up all Bucks County police departments by the end of the year," announces Christina, who adds that Fuel The Force is now a registered nonprofit in Pennsylvania and is in process of becoming a 501(C)3.
"I'm also concentrating on gratitude events, like the Gala I put on in May of this year where 12 police departments from Bucks County enjoyed a topnotch gala all for free with a full dinner (donated by LaStalla Italian Market, Tre Fratelli, Villa Rosa and Colonial Farms), dancing/entertainment provided by DJ Eric Scott Gold, drinks donated by the Green Parrot and Stateside Vodka, and free raffles from donations from a ton of businesses in our area, along with the beautiful event space donated by Rafters Venue in Newtown," adds Christina.
She says she also teamed up with the Newtown Athletic Club staff to do another event for every Bucks County police department during which Texas Roadhouse donated most of the food for it, along with LaStalla Market and Colonial Farms.
"My goal is to continue to do two major gratitude events a year to show these fine men and women in blue the appreciation they so much deserve," Christina says.