A Camden County, New Jersey, mother recently found herself in such a desperate situation that the only option she had was to call 911.
Her unusual call caught the attention of police dispatcher Tondaleya Bagby, who alerted an officer to the mother’s plight.
But Bagby knew she had to do more herself; she couldn’t let the mother and her children starve.
The Camden County Communications Center received a call from a woman who sounded relatively calm.
On January 22, an unidentified woman called 911 to report an emergency—her children hadn’t eaten since the day before.
“I had went to local churches and everything trying to find food for my children,” the mother of four said during the call. “My kids have not eaten since yesterday.”
The dispatcher who answered the call informed the mother that 911 was “not for this.”
The woman was desperate to get her children some food.
She told the dispatcher that she had exhausted all of her resources and calling the emergency number was the only way she could get help because her phone was off—users are still able to make emergency phone calls even if their phone has been deactivated.
She added that she didn’t expect to receive her food stamps for another month.
Another dispatcher overheard the call and knew that even though this wasn’t the type of emergency they usually deal with, she had to do something.
“It made me sad,” Bagby told NBC10. “I couldn’t imagine not being able to provide for my child.”
Another dispatcher overheard and sent an officer to the woman’s home.
Bagby requested that Officer David Hinton visit the woman’s home. While there Hinton contacted Bagby to let her know about the family’s situation.
“I went inside and found a single mom and four kids in a one-bedroom apartment,” Hinton told the Courier Post. “She told me she wasn’t able to provide for them herself.”
After discovering that the mother’s cabinets were bare, Hinton went to McDonalds and picked up food for the children.
Although Hinton was able to provide the mother with food for the time being, Bagby wanted to do more.
Bagby was happy that the mother and her children had food, but still felt like she needed to do more.
“All day, I was thinking about the long-term, like, yes, they have food now, but what about tomorrow, next week, next month?” she recalled.
So, she contacted her mother, Tracy Seigel, who is a Camden County sergeant, and the two of them enlisted the help of a few fellow officers to buy 10 bags of groceries for the woman and her children.
After work Bagby and Seigel delivered several bags of groceries to the woman’s home.
Officers of the WeekThis week, the Camden County Police Department is proud to recognize as Officer of the Week…
When Bagby and Seigel dropped the groceries off at the woman’s home they were met with great appreciation.
“I think what she did was just what she had to do,” Bagby said. “Regardless of her situation and how hard it might be to ask for help, she did her job as a mother, to get help for her kids.”