By Madeleine List The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, RI — Wearing a cape that read “I donut need a reason to thank a cop,” 10-year-old Tyler Carach cheerfully shook the hands of Providence police officers before they indulged in the treats he and his mother had brought them Monday afternoon.

“I wanted to thank police officers because they risk their lives every day for total strangers and their families,” said Carach, of Bratt, Florida, who has traveled with his mother to 40 states delivering Dunkin’ Donuts to police officers.

Carach came up with the idea to thank cops across the nation with doughnuts when he was 8 years old. While at a coffee shop with his mother, he asked her if he could buy doughnuts for four deputies who were eating there, Carach told an auditorium full of Providence police officers during roll call. The deputies were so happy and grateful, he said.

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“Then I said, ‘I want to thank every cop in America!’ ” he said.

His mother, Sheena Carach, who herself served with the Suffolk Police Department in Virginia, said she wanted to support her son’s idea.

“I thought it was awesome, of course,” she said. “I never thought it would become what it has become.”

The project began two years ago with a GoFundMe page that the mother-son team used to kick-start their travel, though now they cover most of their travel expenses themselves, she said. The doughnuts, of which they have delivered 70,000, are usually sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, she said.

The pair have traveled far and wide, including to Alaska, to show their gratitude to the police, she said.

Tyler, who goes to a charter school, keeps up with his homework on the road, his mother said.

“This is what he wants to do in life,” she said. “He wants to be a police officer. I’m hoping that through this all, he learns how to be the best police officer that he can be when that time comes for him.”

As Patrolman Gerry Kue and Patrolwoman Deanna Johnson ate their doughnuts, they said it felt good to be appreciated.

“It’s good for a change to have people actually embrace what we do,” Kue said.

“People need to realize that we’re people, too,” Johnson said. “You can’t do this job if you don’t have feelings.”

Sheena Carach said she’s working on creating a nonprofit to continue the initiative and on coming up with other ways to show appreciation for law enforcement. But for now, she plans to keep helping her son, future-Officer Carach, sweeten the lives of cops across the nation.

“Right now, we’re just enjoying doughnut boy,” she said.

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