(ABC) — An 8-year-old girl is tapping into her creativity in trying to keep police officers safe across the country.
Arianna Nichols, of Illinois, started making crosses out of Perler beads she received for her birthday in August and has since made it her mission to distribute these crosses to police officers in every US state, her mom Laura Nichols told ABC News.
Arianna first handed out her handmade crosses to fellow church members, local restaurant workers and neighbors and decided to start sending them to law enforcement officers when a friend mentioned her husband is a cop.
“Arianna said ‘Can you take one to protect him?’” Nichols said. “Arianna gave her a handful and told her to give them to all the people he works with to protect them.”
The first police department that Arianna provided her crosses to was the Madison County Sheriff’s Department in Illinois at the end of September, Nichols said.
“From there, Arianna was like ‘I want to give more, I want to protect more,’ so I started reaching out to friends with spouses who are police officers,” Nichols said, adding that once her contacts “ran dry” she messaged different police departments on Facebook.
One department that received Arianna’s gift was the Snellville Police Department in Snellville, Georgia. Capt. Greg Perry said it was “truly heartwarming” to receive their 31 crosses for all of their patrol officers a couple of weeks ago.
“We are very humbled by her precious and loving act,” Perry said. “We wish her the best in spreading such a positive message to those in the public safety profession, and feel blessed to be involved with what she has started.”
Capt. Carey Roberts, also of the Snellville Police Department, added that he and his fellow officers were “awed” by Arianna’s “big heart,” especially since it was a “very difficult time for law enforcement” when she started her project.
So far, the little girl who wants to “spread God’s word” has sent 6,087 crosses to 90 departments in 30 states, and even one department overseas, in Sydney, Australia, Nichols said.
“I am hearing most officers carry the crosses in their shirt pocket nearest their heart, in the wallet with their badge and in their bullet-proof vest,” Nichols said. Arianna “is very excited and overwhelmed with gratitude.”