Several friends of the late George Collier have rallied over the holiday season – and quickly we might add – to create a legacy for the former Boston Police Officer that would serve to help families with food over the holidays.
Cecil Jones, a police officer and member of the Bunker Hill Associates, said he had been discussing the idea with some friends in the Town and they felt that now would be the time to do something for Collier.
“There were a few of us that got a couple of people together from Charlestown and we thought this would be a good way to promote George’s legacy,” said Jones. “I grew up in the projects in Charlestown and George always told me to focus on sports and athletics to keep focused. Because of him, I listened and I made some good choices and have lived a good life because of it. When we lost George, this was something I always wanted to do to give back.”
Jones recalled that the family, the Colliers, had a store on Bunker Hill Street and they were more than generous to needy families in those days – especially for those that were in need of food. That’s where the idea came in to give away gift cards to help families with food – and they set a goal of providing 52 cards as Collier passed at the age of 52.
“My family was one that was on the receiving end so many times, and this was a chance to be on the giving side,” he said. “We’re not going to solve all the problems for these families, but we can solve their problems for a week at least during the holidays.”
A highlight of the effort is that they set a goal of $15,000 to raise, posted the need out to the community last Friday, and now have pretty much received all of their donations. Jones said the City of Boston Credit Union was instrumental in giving $10,000 toward the effort, and Kevin McGoff has been able to raise quite a bit as well through his work. Meanwhile, many donations have come in through social media and the Venmo app that is being used to encourage social distancing during COVID.
Maureen Collier, president of the Associates and the wife of the late George Collier, said those receiving the cards will be chosen by the Boys & Girls Club of Charlestown. She said George was not a Club kid, but her family was and the Club was very important to him – particularly the College Club there that he donated to annually and for which she continues to donate to in his name.
She said the gift cards are a great legacy for her husband, and she is grateful to the Boston Police and the Associates for helping her family during the tough times after George passed, and also in organizing this legacy.
Our family is very happy and very humbled that someone like Cecil and these other guys decided to do this,” she said. “Holidays can be tough for people when you lost loved ones, but this is making it better for us and helping George’s legacy live on.”
Jones said he hopes this is something that will continue in George’s name every year at this time.
“It’s my goal to repeat this every year,” he said. “I think it’s a great time of the year to help those who are in need. I grew up in the projects in Charlestown and I know what it is to see a week come and go and hope for something.”