8 Fox Cities law enforcement agencies join forces for Operation Arresting Hunger

Posted at 11:21 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 00:21:05-04

Something seems fishy to Appleton police right now. It's not a crime they're trying to solve. It's the tuna they're collecting in the department's lobby.

"The response from the community has just been awesome," says Sergeant Dave Lund.

Operation Arresting Hunger is a new competition between eight Fox Cities law enforcement agencies. They include police departments in Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Fox Crossing, Grand Chute, the Fox Valley Metro Police Department, Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, and Outagamie County Sheriff's Office.

"We like to have sort of those intramural things, you know. Who has the best looking squad car? You know, something about uniforms," said John Wallschlaeger with the Menasha Police Department.

"We always have a good time ribbing each other anyway, but this was to do that for a cause," explains Sergeant Lund. 

Each month, officers ask for donations of a specific food and post their progress on their social media sites using #ArrestingHunger. In January, Appleton police won for the most peanut butter. In February, a last minute, massive jelly donation put Fox Valley Metro in the top spot. With all departments combined, officers delivered more than 12,600 pounds of PB & J to the St. Joseph Food Program in Menasha.

"By having these collections, we're not going to be buying peanut and jam for at least eight months. That's fantastic. It's a huge cost savings for us," said the pantry's Executive Director Monica Clare.

The St. Joseph Food Program served about 8,500 people in need last year. As part of Operation Arresting Hunger, officers are getting to meet some of those clients while volunteering in the distribution line.

"To show this population that we wear many hats in the community, and we're happy to do that," explains Wallschlaeger.  

This month, you can drop off tuna to help your city's department earn bragging rights.

"Its been great to have people come in to the lobby. A lot of people are bringing in their children, setting a good example for them to be charitable," said Sergeant Lund.

Schools have even been doing food drives of their own to help give their officers an edge, but at the end of the day, "Everybody's the winner with this," says Clare. "It doesn't matter who brings in the most. It's a joint effort, so we're very grateful for everything they've done."  

In the month of April, officers will collect pasta and pasta sauces. Then, the campaign comes to an end, although officers have expressed interest in bringing it back again next year.