Sarah Hale said Monday afternoon’s Back the Blue event surpassed her expectations as a crowd of about 100 prayed in front of the Lubbock Police Department.

The idea for the event, Hale said, came from her online Bible study group, where members participated in “Back the Blue Day,” an event she said spans nationwide as people are encouraged to support law enforcement.

“I posted it on Facebook with a goal of 10 families in mind,” she said, standing among a growing crowd in front of the police station at 10th Street and Texas Avenue.

In addition to offering prayers, Hale gathered donations of snacks, gift cards and other supplies as gifts for the officers in an effort to express the community’s appreciation.

She was blown away by the community presence and support, she said, adding that the event is personal, as her father has spent about 40 years working in law enforcement.

Lubbock Police Department Chaplain Doug Dayton said he and his fellow officers were equally moved.

Seeing continued community support in the aftermath of events like the shooting that left five officers dead and nine wounded last month in Dallas is uplifting, he said.

Dayton led the crowd in prayer, asking for communities nationwide and officers to come together.

Officers shook hands and distributed police badge stickers as children smiled and played.

Hale and her four children went to five different local law enforcement agencies and donated gifts to an estimated 1,000 officers.

Hale’s online prayer group is at and consists of 16,000 women from across the nation.

She posted about the event more than a week ago and it received hundreds of shares.

When she saw the crowd, she said she fought back tears as she was overcome with emotion.

Hale said she was surprised because she has only been in Lubbock for a year and doesn’t really know a lot of people.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ and ‘we support you’ to our law enforcement because they risk their lives everyday,” Hale said.

According to the event’s Facebook page, items donated to Lubbock law enforcement by Sunday include:

■ 1,208 bottles of water

■ 124 bottles of Gatorade

■ 1,473 prepackaged snacks

■ 307 packs of gum

■ 212 tubes of Chapstick

■ 180 travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer

■ 62 pocket sized packs of Kleenex

■ 64 Thirty One bottle thermals

■ 180 Survival kits

■ 15 goody bags

■ $500 worth of Chop Chop food vouchers

Hale said the donations were enough to provide gifts to an estimated 1,000 officers in multiple agencies. • 766-8722

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