Small Group Cop Stop
A few months ago I had the privilege to be part of a “Cop Stop” along with our small group in East Memphis. This is a growing phenomenon here in the Memphis area where Police Officers and Fire Fighters are invited to someone’s home to enjoy a meal and get to know those present. As a community we use it as an opportunity to demonstrate to this special group of people that we understand that they have a difficult job that is often thankless. We want to show our support and appreciation for all that they do on a daily basis by offering an open home and a home cooked meal.
After several weeks of planning and coordinating with local departments, the day finally arrived. We were serving a spaghetti dinner with LOTS of sides and, of course, plenty of desserts. We had been informed that people would stop by when they could between calls as their shift permitted. It didn’t take long for the first group to arrive, an engine full of fire fighters. They sat with us for almost an hour chatting about their jobs and families. They told
us what a typical shift is like for them. And they even shared with us some jokes and pranks they have with each other. We had an amazing time getting to know this lively group.
Throughout the 4-hour event we had about 20 first responders come by and spend some time with us. Everyone was very friendly and open. Perhaps the most common response we got from them all was how grateful they were to know that there were people out there who cared about them and what they have to go through. They said it’s not often that they feel welcomed anywhere these days, but they were so appreciative that we would welcome them and support them, even if it was just for a few minutes between calls.
It was such a simple but impactful way that we were able to serve our community. It doesn’t always require grand gestures or great effort to make a difference in someone’s life. Cop Stop started with one family inviting one officer over for a grill out that they were planning on having anyway. Each week it grew and grew until it spread to other families and has since grown to include Germantown, Cordova, Arlington, Eads, Collierville, Oakland, Bartlett, and is even beginning to spread into Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, California, Alabama, and Maine. The best part is that through these relationships we are able to show not just our own appreciation but also the love of our God to these communities and especially these first responders.
Written by Mallory Nicoletti (Ellis/Lee Small Group)