Make checks out to Fraternal Order of Police and put "Journee Akins" in the memo line. Send to: Fraternal Order of Police, Lt. Eddy Chamberlin, 1709 S. Holtzclaw Ave., Chattanooga, TN, 37404
Drop supplies off at the Police Services Center, 3401 Amnicola Highway, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 22 or 23.
Source: Chattanooga Police Department
Ayesha Pankey's day got off to a bad start Friday when her car battery died and she couldn't go to work.
But then a parade of police officers arrived at her doorstep with arms full of supplies for Pankey's granddaughter, 7-month-old Journee Akins. And the day got better. Much better.
Pankey is raising Journee on her own after 19-year-old Jasmine Akins -- Journee's mother and Pankey's daughter -- was shot to death on Sept. 7 in a parking lot off Market Street.
In the wake of Akins' death, Pankey has built a unique relationship with the Chattanooga Police Department, and especially with Lt. Eddy Chamberlin, who often checks in on her and Journee.
In December, Chamberlin realized the family could use some help and organized a drive to gather toys, supplies and funds for her. On Friday, officers took those donated supplies to Pankey's home. A line of 10 officers -- arms full of diapers, clothing and toys, marched into Pankey's living room.
Pankey teared up as she watched the supplies pour in.
"I can say thank you a thousand times, but it's just not enough," Pankey said. "I wasn't expecting all of this. I'm just happy for my grandbaby, that's all."
The pile of supplies filled up half of Pankey's living room. Chamberlin said the police department has also received several hundred dollars in checks or cash, which the Fraternal Order of Police is organizing into a fund for Journee.
They'll use the money to help in the future as Journee gets older, Chamberlin said.
Journee's uncle, Jamaine Akins, said the police department's support is unexpected but very welcome. He's about to head off to military basic training and said the officers' interest gives him some peace of mind as he leaves Journee behind with Pankey.
"I didn't know people cared like this," he said. "Not this much. I don't even know what to get Journee for Christmas now."
Contact staff reporter Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or email@example.com with tips or story ideas.