MATTHEWS – Finding creative ways to raise money for a good cause is nothing new for the Matthews Police Department. Whether selling dozens of donuts or soliciting donations from the side of the road, officers from the department are committed to making a difference, raising more than $20,000 during the past two years alone.
And this year is no different.
This September, Matthews Police Department officers are taking an extra initiative to raise money for Special Olympics of North Carolina, a more than eight-year tradition at the department, with Cut-By-A-Cop. The new initiative allows residents in Matthews and beyond to contribute to the cause by donating $25 to have a Matthews police officer mow their lawn.
“Cut-By-A-Cop was an idea that just sort of came to us,” Cpl. Grant Nelson said, adding that the officers participating are passionate about both raising money and mowing their own lawns. “It was just a different idea.”
Nelson has been helping with Special Olympics fundraising for six years, about the same amount of time he’s been with the department, he said. So far, six officers have volunteered their time to help cut grass. Many, Nelson said, have small lawn-care businesses on the side in addition to working at the department.
The department is asking for a minimum donation of $25 for the Cut-By-A-Cop program, which lasts through the month of September, and 100 percent of proceeds will benefit Special Olympics of North Carolina – ensuring both kids and adults with disabilities will have the chance to participate in the games. Nelson said residents in Matthews, Mint Hill, south Charlotte and in neighboring Union County towns all can call on Matthews officers for Cut-By-A-Cop.
“We’ll mow, weedeat, trim and blow driveways off so they can look nice and fresh,” Nelson said. “Anything is a good goal. Obviously, the more money the better, but any amount will be beneficial.”
Cut-By-A-Cop isn’t the only initiative Matthews Police Department is sponsoring this month. The department will host Cops-On-Corners on Sept. 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Chick-fil-A located at 9905 Matthews Park Drive. Police officers will be in the parking lot of the restaurant throughout the day providing demonstrations, selling raffle tickets for area restaurant gift cards and soliciting donations from customers. Two different styles of T-shirts will be sold for $10 and $15.
Officers also will be at the intersection of Independence Boulevard and Windsor Square Drive soliciting donations from people stopped at the light and walking.
“I would say more than 80 percent of money raised (for Special Olympics) comes from law enforcement,” Sgt. David Ruby said, adding the money raised will allow athletes to compete in the events for free. Ruby has coordinated fundraising in Matthews for the cause for about eight years, he said.
Last year, Ruby helped with the opening ceremony of the first Special Olympics flag football event, which was held at Bank of America Stadium. He said volunteering with Special Olympics helps drive his fundraising efforts.
“To be able to watch them compete, doing what any normal human being can do, is just rewarding,” he said, adding parents of people with disabilities also appreciate the efforts of law enforcement.
“Just to have the athletes come shake your hand and give hugs – it just makes it all worth it,” Ruby said.
Find out more about the Special Olympics fundraisers by visiting the police department’s website, www.matthewsnc.gov/Departments/Police/DepartmentWel come.aspx. To make an appointment with Cut-By-A-Cop, contact Nelson at 704-841-6747.