EDWARDSVILLE - Samantha Reifsteck, an 8-year-old girl from Edwardsville, has been doing one of the most giving volunteer efforts any citizen could do - helping show police officers appreciation with her Feed the Force campaign.

The Feed the Force group made their way to the Wood River Police Department this past week and it was something that truly touched the officers. The lunchtime event was held in the Wood River Council Chambers.

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“I think they were touched by what they (Samantha and Charlie Reifsteck and Doc’s Smokehouse in Edwardsville) were doing,” Wood River Deputy Chief Dan Bunt said. “The turnout for our luncheon was fantastic. Each person thanked Samantha and her father for their support and efforts. Samantha’s mother, Lisa, was not able to attend due to work.

“We presented Samantha with a Junior Police Badge and one of our patches. We would like to thank Doc’s Smokehouse for their delicious meal. If you haven’t tried Doc’s Smokehouse in Edwardsville, it is awesome. We would like to also thank everyone for the support over the past couple of difficult years.”

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Charlie Reifsteck praised Doc’s Smokehouse for how cooperative the business has been in the Feed the Force operation and said it is a business that sincerely cares about the officers and region.

“The sole purpose of Feed the Force is to support our Madison County law enforcement officers,” Charlie Reifsteck said. “Last spring, Samantha caught one of the news stories of an officer being shot and said we need to do something to help our officers. Feed the Force is a result of her idea. We have partnered with Doc’s Smokehouse in Edwardsville and collected several thousands of dollars from the citizens of Madison County who want to show their officers we support you and want to show a gesture of support through a simple meal.

“We have gone about this several ways including giving 'Tickets' to officers and most recently this fall, feeding the entire Illinois State Police troop in Collinsville and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. These events were a great success and we are glad to have repeated it with the Wood River Police Department.”

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