By Curt Yeomans
Krispy Kreme customers in Riverdale slowed down and stared at the restaurant's roof on Friday afternoon. One woman even whipped out her camera phone to take a picture of the spectacle.
There were Clayton County Sheriff's deputies standing on Krispy Kreme's roof, and they were waving to everyone who passed. It was all for a reason, though -- part of the annual, nation-wide, Special Olympics "Cops on Doughnut Shops" fund-raiser.
"We like giving back for a worthy cause," said Sheriff's Office spokesperson, Sgt. Sonja Sanchez. "By participating in this program, we're helping to make a world of difference in the lives of these athletes, to help them achieve their goals."
The deputies began participating in the fund-raiser at 7 a.m., on Friday, and will remain at the restaurant, around the clock, until 6 p.m., on Sunday, according to Sanchez. Some will be on the roof, while others will be on the ground, soliciting donations, she said. The restaurant is located at 6689 Ga. Hwy. 85, in Riverdale.
Although rain is in the forecast for this weekend, Sanchez said Mother Nature will not deter deputies from participating in the fund-raiser. "They will not be on the roof [if it rains], but they will be in the foyer area, catching people as they come into the restaurant," she said.
The money that is raised by law enforcement officers in this state will go to Special Olympics of Georgia, according to Allison Kaczenski, the director of special events for Special Olympics of Georgia.
In this state, it is included as part of the Special Olympics of Georgia's Law Enforcement Torch Run fund-raising initiative, Kaczenski said. This is the eighth year the "Cops on Doughnut Shops" event has been held, she said. During the promotion, law enforcement officers hang out at their local Krispy Kreme store, and some climb on the roof, while others stay on the ground with collection cups to accept donations, she added.
Sanchez, who climbed on the roof herself Friday afternoon, said the fund-raiser is "actually a pretty exciting event," because the deputies "got to take time off from work, to climb up on the roof of Krispy Kreme to raise awareness for this cause."
Kaczenski said events that fall under the torch run initiative's umbrella are typically off the wall, such as having law enforcement officers get on the roof of a Krispy Kreme, or having them jump into pools filled with freezing water.
"It would typically be any event that is just wacky and unusual," Kackzenski said. In total, 15 law enforcement agencies, from across the state, are participating in the "Cops on Doughnut Shops" program this year, according to Kaczenski.
The Clayton County Sheriff's Office is participating for the first time, according to Sanchez. Kaczenski said this marks the first time in five years that a law enforcement agency in Clayton County has been a participant. She said the Riverdale Police Department used to participate each year.
"We're excited that the Clayton County Sheriff's Office is picking it back up in Clayton County this year," the special events director said. "I'm actually planning on making my way down there [Saturday] for a few hours, just to see how they are doing."
Sanchez said the Sheriff's Office is participating this year because Sheriff Kem Kimbrough "wanted to make sure we do whatever we could do to support this worthy cause."
She said the office has not set a goal for how much it wants to raise. The state-wide goal, however, is between $120,000 and $130,000, said Kaczenski.
Glenda Anderson, the assistant general manager of the Krispy Kreme in Riverdale, said the store is happy to host the deputies, because "it's helping a person who is not as fortunate as we may be."
Several Krispy Kreme patrons said they, too, were happy to see the deputies at the restaurant, collecting donations for the Special Olympics. Riverdale resident, Thao Nguyen, said the deputies "have always been a great help" to the community. "I gave a donation because it's for special kids, and I know every small contribution helps," Nguyen said.
Brooks resident, Mary Tuck, added, "I love to see law enforcement any time, but when they are doing something to give back to the community, that's just wonderful."