Expectations greatly surpassed at Fishers’ ‘Pack the Cruiser’ event

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FISHERS, Ind. - Fishers police officers hoped to fill two cruisers worth of food for its first Pack the Cruiser event benefiting the city's summer lunch program and ended up beating its goal by more than five fold.

“Thought maybe we could try it out and see how it went," Detective Dean Mucha said. "And turns out it went very well.”

Mucha stole the idea from police departments in his hometown. The agencies there hold an annual event and compete against each other to see who can collect the most food.

Mucha organized Fishers attempt at the fundraiser this past Saturday at two Kroger stores. After four hours of asking for goods, the department ended up with 11 vehicles full of food.

“I was amazed. I actually was outside when they all pulled up. They all had their lights on. It was amazing," Hamilton Southeaster Schools Food Service Director Andria Ray said.

Officers delivered the food Wednesday to Fishers High School where volunteers will organize it for the students in its summer lunch program.

This is the first year for the summer lunch program in Fishers and the district got a large donation to get it going, but was going to run out of food in a couple of weeks.

“And then seeing all the police officers help unload the food, load after load kept coming in the school, it was amazing," Ray said.

About 1 in 7 students at Hamilton Southeastern Schools are on a free or reduced lunch and 175 students have enrolled in the summer lunch program its first year.

Mucha said he hopes to continue the Pack the Cruiser event next year and expand it into a competition with other Hamilton County police departments.

“It actually makes me feel good that the community that I serve came out for this program," Mucha said. "It makes me feel good that they are still out there willing to help us help them."