50-Year-Old Medway Holiday Fund Fueled by Generosity of Neighbors

J.D. O’Gara
Medway Police Seeks Donations to Keep Providing Holiday Meals to Residents in Need
Issue Date: 
December, 2018
Article Body: 

It started way before his tenure as Chief of Police in Medway. The Medway Holiday Fund, says Chief Tingley, is probably over 50 years old
“It started way before I even started on the job,” says the Chief, who began working for the Medway Police Department in 1979 as a dispatcher. “Basically, businesses and residents used to drop donations off to the Police Department for the Holiday Fund. We used it to purchase meals for people in need, or who couldn’t afford to have a good meal because of whatever the circumstances are.” Back when it began, he says, the need was probably for five or six holiday meals.
Members of the Medway Police Department, says Tingley, would deliver the meals a couple days before the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. All of it, he says, is done by donations that are received.
Nowadays, not as many donations are rolling in, but the need for the meals remains high.
In early November, Tingley had a list of 70 Medway residents in need of meals.
“It just goes to show, with the economy and people being out of work and what not, there appears to be a lot of people in need,” says Tingley.
The Medway Holiday Fund has never advertised, says Tingley, “but we’re getting to the point where the requests are exceeding the funds. Each meal, he says, costs about $50 to $60.
“We don’t turn people down,” says Tingley, which can be difficult with limited donations. Many people who need the meal are referred to the Medway Police Department by local agencies, such as the Council on Aging, the Medway Housing Authority, social workers and schools. “We’re trying to do a good thing, make sure somebody has something on this holiday,” says Tingley. “There’s a lot of families out there.”
School Resource Officer Bob O’Neill enlists help from Medway High School students in purchasing the items and putting together baskets.
“Usually it’s a couple of police officers with kids from the National Honor Society and five or six from the football team – peer leaders,” says Tingley. “They spend a good part of the day doing it.” Meals generally include turkey, salad, corn, peas, rolls and desert – “everything you need for a full course turkey meal,” says Tingley. For many elders, says Tingley, the assembly and delivery of the meals removes a large burden.
Tingley is hoping that once more Medway residents realize that there is a fund that supports their fellow residents, they might be inclined to drop a donation by the station.
“I think what we do here is a great, great thing for the community,” he says. Most (about 85%) of the donations are done anonymously, where residents leave checks at the Medway Police Station’s front desk and say it’s for the Medway Holiday Fund.
“We are accepting donations from anyone who’d like to contribute,” says Chief Tingley.