Stillwater mom and daughter donate gift cards for cops to hand out

A mother and daughter Stillwater, inspired by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher’s “Live on Patrol” videos, have donated thousands of dollars in gift cards to local law enforcement this year.

The girl is Makayla, who requested that her surname not be used. His mother wants his full name kept secret.

Last week, the duo presented the Stillwater Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with stacks of different gift cards.

“They deposited hundreds of dollars in gift cards at various fast food restaurants for MPs to use when they encounter people on their shifts who haven’t eaten or need food,” a said Laura Perkins, spokeswoman for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The 25 gift cards ranged in denominations from $15 to $25 each, Perkins said.

The mother and daughter also stopped by the Stillwater Police Department with 15 gift cards — worth $25 each — that Stillwater officers can use however they see fit. Among the stores and restaurants included: Holiday, Speedway, McDonald’s, Subway and Burger King.

“It’s an incredible gift to our community, and we’re honored to have it allow us to help make a difference in people’s lives,” said Chief of Police Brian Mueller.

Officers often encounter homeless people or “couch surfers” who might need a meal, gas or other items, Mueller said.

Makayla and her mother said they got the idea after watching Fletcher’s “Live on Patrol” shows earlier this year. They were prompted to donate and were put in touch with Darryl Spence, a community services officer in the department, who is also an associate minister at New Hope Baptist Church on the east side of St. Paul. Spence works with homeless people, ex-gang members and “less fortunate youth,” he said. “When I give out gift cards, I try to convince people to do different things.”

The “Live on Patrol” shows, which have generated millions of views on social media, emphasize “being nice”, he said. “Anything we can do, we do. We just released it throughout the community and it helps. Say you’re with a mother at a (crime) scene, you can say, “Hey, why don’t you go feed the kids?” You’ll find that the most upset person will calm down if you just hand them a $10 gift card to go to SA where they can pick up a sandwich. If we’re able to hand them a gift card and say, “Go to McDonald’s” or “Here’s one for Holiday, Speedway,” that means a lot to them. »

Spence meets with Makayla and her mother once a week at “the spot,” he said, an undisclosed location in Maplewood, where he receives the week’s batch of gift cards.

“I get my hug of the week, and they hand me the gift cards and I’m on my way,” he said. “They are a blessing. I am proud to be the one they call a friend. Thanks to what these two are doing, we can continue what we are doing.

Mother and daughter live the bible verse Matthew 25:35.

“It says: ‘For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink… I needed clothes and you dressed me'”, he said. “When I was hungry, did you feed me? We want to be able to say yes.

The mother and daughter estimate they have given away around $5,000 in gift cards so far this year. They bought so many at Target the other day that the cashier was worried they were being scammed.

“We just try to do the right thing where we can when we can,” the mother said.

Mikayla, who would like to work in law enforcement one day, said she was happy that their gifts were put to good use.

“I like to help,” she said. “It’s funny. I really like doing it because it helps the community so much because there are a lot of people now, especially because of COVID, who don’t have a lot of things, and I feel guilty to have way too much,” she said.

Mom said, “We’ve had enough. Mikayla said it perfectly, I couldn’t have said it better myself: “We’ve had more than enough”.

Michael N. Clark