MERIDIAN, Idaho — 30 years ago a local woman ran on the "other side of the law". Four DUI's and a handful of arrests were under the belt of a woman known as "Big Mama". Big Mama didn't let her troubled past get the best of her, 26 years ago she got sober and turned her life around. In her effort to turn her life around she found ways to give back to her community.
She's no stranger to law enforcement around the Treasure Valley but over a decade ago she decided to "pay it forward" to two local officers getting a cup of coffee at a nearby Starbucks, "it was kind of my way of giving back to society" says Big Mama. The gratitude the officers showed her for such a small gesture became the catalyst to her event "Coffee 4 Cops", Big Mama says given what they do every day the least she can do is buy these men and woman a cup of coffee, "these guys get up in the morning, go to work, they don't know if they're coming home."
Her kind acts haven't gone unnoticed, the Chief of Meridian Police Department, Jeff Lavey says, "the fact she doesn't forget us, it's warming." In her first couple of years organizing this event, Big Mama was able to raise a couple hundred dollars. This year, she raised a couple thousand. "Coffee 4 Cops" formally ran from December 22nd to January 6th, but with money, still available at select participating Starbucks Big Mama assures the public, "the money will just stay there until these guys get busy and drink all their beverages and have their snacks."
As of this year, this event is intended for only law enforcement, but with the event gaining exposure, Big Mama is confident that come next year, she'll have enough money to open this up to all first responders throughout the Treasure Valley.
If you are a police officer in the Treasure Valley area and would like to know more about this "pay it forward", consult with your assigned police agency. If you're a member of the public and would like to donate, visit your local Starbucks and ask them if they are a participating location.