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Couple feeds Manatee law enforcement on Christmas Eve

MANATEE -- Bill and Kathy Palmer started their Christmas Eve at Publix with two shopping carts filled with sandwiches, fruit salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, cookie and other goodies intended for local law enforcement.

“We moved here in 2005 and we used to do it when we lived in Pennsylvania,” said Bill Palmer. “It’s our way to give back to officers who put their lives on the line every day.”

This year, the couple fed about 40 people at both the Palmetto Police Department and a substation of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Deputy John Moore smiled and thanked the pair for their generosity,

“We appreciate it,” Moore said.

To which Bill Palmer replied: “We appreciate everything you do for us, and while people are with their families tonight you will be working.”

Moore said deputies working through the evening will be thankful for the food -- on holiday nights, it’s tough to find a place that’s open to grab a bite to eat.

“They’ve been doing this for many years, and it’s always a surprise when we see it,” Moore said.

An officer at the Palmetto Police Department repeated the same sentiment as he helped bring food into the station.

The Palmers’ New Year’s goal: Get more of the community together for this event, and maybe feed every law enforcement member in the county.