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Holland Police step up community help during pandemic

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: July 20, 2020

Holland Police Officer Matt Brouwer (right) presents a $600 check to Community Action House in Holland.

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

When COVID-19 Stay at Home orders led to the cancellation of their fundraising country concert in April, Holland Police turned up the volume on their community service efforts.

The concert is a major annual fundraiser for Holland Police Officers Association (HPOA), a local POLC unit. Community members and Holland Police Officers work together to run the fundraiser.

Photos courtesy of Holland Police Department
Holland Police Officer Joel Maat (left) delivers meals to essential workers at Valvoline Instant Oil Change in Holland.

With the help of Public Safety Promotions (PSP), which organizes the concert, Holland Department of Public Safety reached out to area businesses who sponsored the April 25 concert to share the bad news.

“PSP called all the donors who put ads in (concert) program book,” said Holland Police Sgt. Matt Brouwer, an event organizer. “We asked if they would still like to donate money to HPOA and they all agreed.”

HPOA used the funds to help Holland area community service organizations, provide meals for essential workers, keep costs low for officer training programs, and to fund an annual college scholarship.

“We sent out a thank you letter on our Facebook to those who donated to keep that connection as we all suffer with COVID-19,” Brouwer said.

The $4,000 Holland Police Officers Association Scholarship (distributed in four yearly $1,000 increments) is awarded to a child of full-time police officer in Ottawa County or Allegan County.

“We give back to the police officers and union board guys and try to keep that affiliation with law enforcement,” Brouwer said.

With the significant economic impact of COVID-19 on businesses, many of which had to close temporarily or permanently, Brouwer was pleased with the great fundraising effort this year.

“We’re pretty sure we will have a little bit of a downslide next year,” he said. “We hope we can continue to provide this concert next year while helping the community through our work and profits (raised). We really wanted to keep the scholarship going.”

Funds were donated as follows:

  • $600 to the Community Action House in Holland, MI, which provides food, clothing, shelter and skills to individuals and families in need.
  • 155 meals to Holland area essential workers.
  • $600 to Hand2Hand in Hudsonville, MI, which provides weekend food to West Michigan children who receive free and reduced lunch at school five days a week.
  • $2,000 to Johnson-Brouwer Foundation, in Ada, MI, a free counseling service for veterans and public safety personnel which helps place vets in work therapy, transitioning to civilian life, treating PTSD and related addictions such as drugs and alcohol.

“I stayed up all night and made 70 or 80 pounds of pulled pork – over 200 servings – and used all the funds to buy the pork and seasoning,” Brouwer said. “Then I brought it all in and the (Local) Union board and community put the meals together and delivered them to essential workers in the Holland area. We stuck with smaller stores that still had people working, like gas stations, auto and hardware stores. We didn’t want them to feel forgotten. It ended up being 50 to 60 locations we handed out meals to in April.”

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