A local Realtor and his family aim to unite the community through their annual donations.

Each year, Greg Hart and his sons undertake several charity efforts to benefit Central Ohio communities through their business, the Hart Family of HER Realtors. Last year, they settled on simply giving winter hats to children in need.

Hart and his family originally planned to purchase 1,000 hats to distribute directly to kids, but logistical concerns proved challenging. Plus, Hart wanted the hats to have a more meaningful effect than a simple giveaway would provide. He landed on an elegant solution: ask local police officers to distribute them.

Hart was inspired to act “because of the continual stories of the divide between police departments and the community.” When the Columbus Police agreed to distribute the hats, Hart upped the order to 2,500—all distributed last winter throughout disadvantaged Columbus neighborhoods. Says Hart, “It was more than a hat. It was also a great way to help bridge some of those gaps between the police and the kids in the community. Their officers made some really nice connections. One of them got a little teary telling me about it.”

The effort was such a success that they're upping this year's order to 10,000 hats.

“What a great opportunity to have a police officer build a great relationship with a small kid—that experience could follow a small kid for his whole life, that the police officer did that,” Hart says. “The hat just seems to be a spot-on gift for so many little kids that I don't think we'll ever stop.”

***

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Columbus Monthly magazine, as well as our weekly newsletter so that you keep abreast of the most exciting and interesting events and destinations to explore, as well as the most talked-about newsmakers shaping life in Columbus.