NORWICH – The last of a series of “Give Back” nights to help support the Norwich Police Benevolent Association (PBA) is set to take place from 4-10 p.m., May 9, at Nina’s in Norwich.
Those who opt to eat at Nina’s during those hours on May 9 will be issued a coupon at the door for that states 20 percent of the patron’s purchase will go to the Norwich PBA.
The ticket should be presented to the server during the visit to ensure that the the 20 percent is allocated.
According to PBA President George Carnrike III, the PBA is a nonprofit that relies on community support and donations so that the group can continue to give back to the community it serves.
“We use any money donated to organize and fund community events that are beneficial to our city,” said Carnrike. He added that some of the current projects the PBA donates to are the Norwich High School After-Prom Party, The Youth Bureau, and The American Cancer Society.
“Additionally, we help to register bicycles for children, as we have done for a number of years,” Carnrike said. “The PBA also donates to and assists with the Toys for Tots program.”
Carnrike said that the PBA makes no money, and any special events, activities, or donations to community organizations are only possible if the community members donate to the nonprofit.
“The PBA is separate from the City,” Carnrike said. “The funds we have to work with for the events we’d like to hold is dwindling,” he said. “If we were to run out of money, we can’t do the things we would like to make this community a happier place.”
In essence, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) is the union for police officers, and the Norwich chapter’s members are all officers and sergeants of the Norwich Police Department. The Chief of Police and Deputy Chief are not included in the union.
Carnrike explained that time, sponsorships and donations are given to events including Pop Warner, the school lunches program, the after-prom party, REK Memorial 5k, The Pumpkin Festival, Colorscape Chenango, The Holy Family School fish fry, among others.
Special requests are often made for help to fire victims, which the PBA tries its best to assist.
The PBA additionally holds Summer Fun Days at Kurt Beyer Park in Norwich. This offers children an opportunity to learn about stranger danger and bicycle safety. The children are given ‘Junior Police Officer’ stickers, K9 information cards, glowsticks, coloring books, and other flyers.
Carnrike explained that the PBA was not able to do a fundraiser last year, and even though the group is strapped for cash, they still want to help.
Carnrike recommends the Chicken Siciliana from Nina’s, for those who plan on attending on “Give Back Night.”
In past years, the PBA has sponsored a Little League team, but they were unable to afford to do so this year. They did, however, have enough funds to sponsor a billboard for the Little League field.
Other areas where the PBA helps out include The Place in Norwich and Relay For Life.
Past PBA President Reuben Roach said, “We try to get involved in as much as possible. Granted, we don’t have a lot of funds, but we still do as much as we can.”
Carnrike stressed the importance of stranger danger, and how the PBA takes informing the children seriously. “We teach the children it’s unsafe to talk to strangers, urge them not to walk in the dark, not to walk alone and to have a buddy, and to know their phone number, address, and parents’ names,” he said.
“We try our best to accommodate all requests we get, but it’s so hard because we haven’t been bringing in the money during our campaigns in the past few years,” Carnrike said. “We’ve had to turn down some requests for assisting programs, unfortunately.”
Carnrike added that each Memorial Day, the PBA places new markers on the graves of Norwich officers who have passed away. “It’s something that is important and to show our respect, but it does cost money to do it.”
“We would love to see an influx of donations so that we can help out our community even more than we have before,” said Carnrike. “Each and every donation helps us to continue to support all the local community events to which we contribute.”
The PBA also awards two scholarships to Norwich High School students each year.
“We’re a PBA and we believe in giving back to our community as much as we can,” said Carnrike. “This is where (most of us) were born and raised, and we will do everything we can to keep it going to help the area.”
Anyone wishing to pledge support to the PBA but unable to attend the “Give Back Night” at Nina’s in early May can mail a check to the Norwich PBA, PO Box 306, Norwich, NY 13815.