Twin Cities Pride Parade in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 24, 2018. (Photo by Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons)

Helping Friends In Blue

Colin Wieberdink grew alarmed as protests raged at Minneapolis Police precincts after the killing of George Floyd for one simple reason: his closest friend is a Minneapolis police officer

“He was feeling concerned,” said Deb Wieberdink, Colin’s mother. “Once he finally made contact, he asked her ‘what do you need?’”

It turns out, in the first few days after Memorial Day, that was meals. Deb Wieberdink said that officers had a difficult time getting food delivered to them, so she went to a place she knew best – Crossroads Delicatessen – which she said is part of their family.

“We were going to make 10 box lunches, and Crossroads matched the 10 and loaded us up with snacks and sweets,” she said.

The initial effort turned into making anywhere from 20 to 60 boxed meals per night, depending on how many precincts were in need. As word got out about Colin and Deb’s efforts, people started Venmoing money and ended up raising more than $5,000.

“This wasn’t us picking sides; we just had to feed people, and they were grateful,” Deb said. “I was amazed. People we don’t even know were sending money. They didn’t care about getting a (tax) write-off. If they could help an officer they did.”

Colin said that the initial week after Floyd’s death and the resulting protests were “really intense,” Particularly as he has friends both in law enforcement and who were protesting. Colin said his friend, whose name is not being published, had been working 12-15 hour shifts with no days off for 12 days and staying with the Wieberdinks when she wasn’t at work.

“It was sad to see officers come home that exhausted,” Colin said. “But the conversations that need to be had are the uncomfortable ones.”

Said Deb: [The officer] is like a daughter to us. But people still have basic human needs. We didn’t do it to get credit or let people know; just to take care of our own.”