12/20/2018 – Katherine Molina was having a stressful week. When you’re a young mother of a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old, most weeks tip that direction.
Recently, the 23-year-old mental health technician hit a financial snag, so when she pulled up to the Quik-Trip near 31st Street and U.S. 169 on Wednesday morning for gas, she was down to her last $5 bill.
Watching Molina from his police cruiser in a nearby parking space, Tulsa Police Officer Danny Cheatham thought she could use a random act of kindness.
Cheatham, 53, was one of more than a dozen officers to patrol Tulsa’s streets Wednesday looking for people in need of help during the holidays. Officers from the department’s three divisions — Gilcrease, Mingo Valley and Riverside — were armed with Visa and gas gift cards, grocery bags containing holiday meal supplies and coupons for free McDonald’s kids meals.
The event, scheduled to continue Thursday and Friday, is described as a campaign of “random acts of kindness” by the TPD Foundation, the primary source of funding for the donations. Reasor’s and Costco also donated to the effort.
When Cheatham presented Molina with a $50 QT gift card, she didn’t have much to say. It was difficult to speak through the tears. She did, however, wrap the officer in a big hug.
“She needed it. She definitely needed it,” Cheatham said. “I saw child seats in (the car) and I thought, ‘Young mom.’ Yeah.”
The officer even got to meet one of Molina’s youngsters, 9-month-old JioVanni.
In total over the three-day period, the department will hand out $2,000 worth of gas gift cards, $2,000 of Visa gift cards and 200 coupons for free McDonald’s kids meals that say “Caught You Doing Good.”
They’ll also hand out dozens of grocery bags containing either a turkey or ham, celery, rolls, boxes of chicken noodle soup, butter, cranberry sauce, dressing, an onion, canned beans, gravy mix, potatoes and soda.
As officers stocked up on items Wednesday morning at the TPD Foundation near 91st Street and Yale Avenue, Roger Chasteen, the foundation’s chairman, explained to them what they would be handing out and why the program is important to the community.
“We’re trying to really build a relationship between the Tulsa Police Department and the community in a good way,” he told the group.
In the parking lot of the Walmart Neighborhood Market near 31st Street and Garnett Road, Lyndell Marrs was exiting his red Dodge Grand Caravan when Cheatham stopped his black cruiser near the vehicle.
“Excuse me, sir,” Cheatham said from the driver’s seat. “Could you use a turkey dinner?”
As it turned out, Marrs could. With three young grandchildren, the 72-year-old has plenty of mouths to feed.
“Good lord, what does this thing weigh?” Marrs, grinning, asked of the turkey.
As he chatted with Cheatham about his family, Marrs beamed with pride speaking about his 37-year-old son, an Eagle Scout who has cerebral palsy and continues to volunteer and participate in marathons.
“Hopefully, this will bring some blessings to your family,” Cheatham said.