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Florida fifth grader Tyler Carach says he’s sick of doughnuts, but for good reason: The 10-year-old has delivered more than 65,000 of them to police officers in 31 states — in less than two years.
"Yet, he still eats them," jokes his mom, Sheena Carach, a former police officer herself, who accompanies Tyler on his road trips.
Tyler got the idea two summers ago, while at a local store, when he saw four officers and asked if he could use his allowance to buy them some doughnuts as a snack. They were so appreciative of the gesture, it gave him the idea for a mission: to thank every police officer in America.
Now, he uses every school break and nearly his entire summer vacation to fulfill that goal.
When TODAY Food reached Tyler and Sheena today, they were currently in Kentucky, heading to Missouri, and had been up since 4 a.m. making their deliveries. (Tyler's dad and teenage siblings typically stay home, though his brother and sister joined them on a six-week road trip last summer.)
He attends a charter school near the Florida-Alabama border, and the school strongly supports community service, Sheena told TODAY Food, so they will give him his school work to take on the road, if necessary, though Tyler tries not to miss school.
Much of the time, the doughnuts are donated (dough-nated?!), or the family buys them, often at a discount. (They can pick up upwards of 20 dozen at a time.)
As for what motivated him originally, they say it was the four officers' extreme gratitude. His mom explained to him that "unfortunately, a lot of people judge a whole by a few and because of that, some people were not very kind to officers" and that "no group is 100-percent perfect."
Wearing a colorful cape, Tyler shows up to the precincts with boxes of doughnuts under each arm. His mom calls ahead to ask for permission. "They always say yes," she says.
He looks at the map, picks an area he hasn't been to yet, and it's on to the next place.
Aside from seeing the country, Tyler has learned a lot about law enforcement — from how to properly operate a taser to trying out a virtual-reality police car — and wants to be a K-9 officer himself one day.
And so far, he's enjoyed all 31 states he's set foot in.
"I don’t have a favorite — I like them all," Tyler told TODAY Food.
For now, the family has no plans to stop. In addition to his own family's support, his trips are funded by donations from friends, relatives and other supporters (you can help him out through his site, I Donut Need a Reason to Thank a Cop).
"It's busy, busy, busy, but it's amazing," Sheena said. "He had a great idea, and we've been able to keep it going."