By Melissa Krull Central NYUPDATED 7:04 PM ET Jan. 18, 2021 PUBLISHED 10:41 AM ET Jan. 18, 2021
It’s cold outside, but Reverend Ursula Meier always seems to have a warmth about her. The reverend recently had quite the surprise when the police showed up.
“So, we had a police officer that came to Johnson Park, and you know when the police show up you’re always like, ‘What happened?’ and then he took a check out and says, ‘We have a check for you’, and we’re like, ‘You bring us money?’,” she said.
He did. Sometimes through Oneida County’s new Traffic Diversion Program lawbreakers have to make a donation to a local nonprofit.
“I looked at it and the first check was $1,000,” said Meier. “We’re like, ‘Wow this is incredible’, and before we were able to recognize the officer, he took out the door and we stood there with a check for $1,000.”
She says all of the donations from the program have been used to buy food for the center’s food giveaways. Of course, no one is being encouraged to break the law, but the donation part of the program is helpful for communities.
“It went to purchasing food, and that food helps hundreds of people in the community. So from there it’s a win-win. You have traffic violations, you endanger the community, and so you’re giving back to the community” said Meier.
Giving back and investing in the community, that’s what Reverend Meier and the Johnson Park Center are all about and how she says they’ve changed the neighborhood.
“You have to give and I think this is an important message right now. We have to give up ourselves. We have to give to others. That’s the only way we can get through,” Meier said.
The center’s staff hope to eventually build an apartment building and community center. In the meantime, they say any donations are greatly appreciated.