MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Support for Memphis' finest is very strong throughout Memphis, and it shows every time an officer goes to get lunch.
Memphis police officers have gone weeks without getting a single day off. Officers are operating on Level Three, a designation that means all overtime is approved and all officers must work every day.
That sort of nonstop service can really take its toll on officers, but many Memphians are doing everything they can to help.
Around the city, we've seen Cop Stops, pro-police rallies, and plenty of 'thank yous.' Now, we're learning that many Memphians are opening their pocketbooks to pay for officers' lunches.
"It has just been amazing," Cecelia Perkins of Soulfish Cafe said. "Our customers, their love and support for the MPD. They have paid for a lot of tickets, or they've, you know, hugged, or you know, gone up to cops and shook their hands."
Perkins said witnessing the outpouring of support has been heartwarming.
"They deserve it. After everything that's going on, I mean, it must be hard to get up and go to work everyday," Perkins said.
Firehouse Subs on Union Avenue is also stepping up and giving officers free meals.
"They take care of us, so we always try to take care of them," General Manager Yolanda Evans said. "I couldn't even imagine working seven days a week. You know, I'm sure their shifts go from probably 10 to 12 hours sometimes, and that can be very stressful."
Evans said her Firehouse Subs does the same for all first responders.
"We also have customers that come in and buy the gift cards. And if they see them in line, they want to purchase their lunch; and if I say well, I got their lunch, they say well, I'm going to get it tomorrow," Evans said.
Interim Police Director Mike Rallings said he's been overwhelmed by that kind of support from the community.
"That means everything. It gives you that boost to go through the day," Rallings said.
Perkins said it has been weeks since an officer paid for their own meal at Soulfish, and she hopes Memphians continue to show the love.
"The smile on their faces when people come up and hug them and we tell them that their checks have been paid for. I mean, they just really appreciate it. You can tell," Perkins said.
Another way you can show your support for officers is to participate in Blue Sunday. Here are more details on that event.