PORTSMOUTH- There can never be too many cooks in the kitchen when it means helping the community. What began as a cooking contest among coworkers and friends on a restaurant’s day off has turned into an opportunity for the cooks at Ollie’s to give back to the community. So, Ollie’s Burgers and BBQ is teaming up with Kickin’ Ash BBQ on May 1 for a hog roast to raise funds for FOP Lodge 33’s Shop with a Cop program.
“What we do on Mondays, we’ve always just had something for our staff,” said Kyle Stapleton, owner of Ollie’s Burgers and BBQ. “We do a little cooking contest, we have people come in and have some fun with our staff.
He said the cooks who regularly come together to cook together, explore recipes, and have fun wanted to give back to the community through their craft, and so this fundraiser was born. Stapleton said this will be the first in a series of food-related fundraisers the crew does to help local organizations. Among the cooks are Ollie’s Manager Mike Morrison, Chef Will Robinson, and Chris Hedrick.
Chris Hedrick is the owner of Kickin’ Ash BBQ and has taken part in the friendly food contest at Ollie’s on Mondays, but he is also an officer with the Portsmouth Police Department. Making Shop with a Cop the first organization for this group of culinary artists to benefit seemed a natural fit.
“The proceeds will actually go to that fund where we can help other families while they’re in need,” Hedrick said. “It’s obvious why the community should support it; it’s for a good cause.”
Shop with a Cop offers area children the opportunity to do holiday shopping with a local law enforcement officer at no cost. The event is supported through community donations.
Hedrick said the Portsmouth FOP usually takes an average of 125 children per year shopping as part of the program. Names are submitted to the FOP through the community or local schools with names of children who may have certain needs or who have endured a traumatic event such as a house fire.
Shop with a Cop is a year-round program aimed at helping families and children during times of need, which aren’t limited to the holidays. Families with children ages infant to senior in high school are eligible for the Shop with a Cop program.