CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – After closing for a week’s worth of repairs and upgrades, Bill’s Donut Shop has reopened their doors and continued serving the Centerville community.
The nationally recognized local favorite services the community in more ways than just providing fresh donuts and coffee to their customers. The shop continues to expand its efforts each year to expand its outreach in the Centerville area.
The shop has already received recognition this year for their efforts in aiding victims of the Memorial Day tornadoes. The shop has now shifted its efforts over to partnering with area children, libraries, and police officers.
During summer months, Bill’s Donut Shop sets up a weekly cookout for area children.
For the past five years, Bill’s Donut Shop has set up a free cookout in the Chevy Chase Park Apartment complex for Centerville-area children every Monday beginning at noon during the summer months.
The cookout involves burgers and hot dogs, chips, fruit, and drinks. Bill’s Donut Shop also brings several dozen donuts to giveaway as well. Each week is also an opportunity for different games and activities, which in past years have included kickball and water balloon fights.
Children from the apartment complex and surrounding areas have made these afternoon cookouts a routine. It’s a time where they can receive good food, time with friends, and games to share.
The Washington-Centerville Public Library also donated over eight cases of books aimed at children of multiple ages and also participates in the cookouts with activities such as reading time for younger children.
Books are set up on a side table and children are encouraged to take any book they are interested in reading. Some children participate in a reading program that encourages them to read a certain number of books throughout the summer.
Bill’s Donut Shop created the cookout for younger children and Centerville police officers to have an opportunity to meet, play, and develop healthy relationships.
The project was the idea of Bill’s Donut Shop co-owner Lisa Tucker. She emphasized that the project was designed to help the children and their relationship with the officers.
“We just feel it’s important for the kids to see the officers, hang out with the officers, and be comfortable,” said Tucker. “If something does happen down the road they feel comfortable enough and trustworthy enough that they can go and see an adult to get help.”
John Davis, Centerville Police Department’s Public Information Officer, said that all of the credit for setting up the program belongs to Lisa Tucker.
“She saw a need down here for feeding the children outside of school because there’s a lot of children who don’t get lunch when school is not in,” said Davis. “This is one of the ways we can bridge that gap.”
Davis said that the department will take any chance it gets to build a relationship with the community.
“This is a unique opportunity,” said Davis. ‘These kids get a chance to interact with us in a way other than something bad happening. So now they’ve got a frame of reference to ‘hey, these are normal people, these are fun people’.”
Over the last five years, relationships have been able to develop outside of the weekly cookouts as well, including trips to movies and Dayton Dragons games.
Their relationships have also helped the police department during several incidents.
“It’s also paid off from the police side of it as well,” said Davis. “There have been incidents where things happened and these kids have trusted us enough to come and talk to us and understand that we’re going to do the right thing and do right by them.”
Bill’s Donut Shop will continue running the cookout each Monday during the summer months while Centerville City Schools are closed. No ID, ticket, or pre-registration is required to attend. Children’s parents are encouraged to attend but not required.
Bill’s Donut Shop will also participate in other upcoming community events such as the Centerville Police Department’s Mystery Night Out, The Kalaman Memorial Golf Tournament, as well as their partnership with the Special Wish Foundation.
For more information on Bill’s Donut Shop, their events, or contact information, visit their website.