Local veterans served up ribs and fried chicken to Detroit, MI  police officers Friday as a way  to show their appreciation at a time when protests are being held in cities across the country over cops’ shootings of black men.

Police officers, veterans and politicians who participated in the event said it exemplified the Detroit Police Department’s positive relationship with the community.

“It’s evidence that we are in fact a department that the community respects, ” Police Chief James Craig said. “People wouldn’t do this for the police if they had no respect. We didn’t ask for this.”

Veterans helped serve hundreds of meals at the Vietnam Veterans of America Detroit Chapter 9 ‘s hall on Woodward near Mack.

For police officers who couldn’t stop by the veterans’ hall, volunteers packed up ribs, chicken, baked beans and salad and delivered them to precincts throughout the city.

Josh Krajewski, president of the Michigan Warriors Hockey Program, a nonprofit that helps disabled veterans, served food  alongside others from his organization. Krajewski of Livonia served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the Army.

“It’s my opportunity to continue to serve my community, ” Krajewski said. “It’s something as simple as a small meal, but it brings people together.”

A handful of local restaurants, including Bert’s Marketplace, Cutter’s Bar and Grill, Honest John’s and Mario’s, provided food, according to organizers.

Detroit Councilman Scott Benson, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, picked up 22 meals to deliver to two precincts in his 3rd District on the city’s east side.

“Everything that’s going on, you got a negative tension, it’s a negative message going out regarding law enforcement in the community, ” Benson said. “So this is just a great opportunity to show law enforcement’s appreciated by the community.”

Rallies and protests  across the country  to condemn police brutality have been organized in the wake of incidents in Minnesota and Louisiana, where African-American men were shot dead by police officers. Hundreds rallied last week downtown at Campus Martius.

City Council President Brenda Jones credited the community policing program, under which officers are assigned to specific neighborhoods, with helping build ties between Detroiters and police.

“We know that times are really tough right now, and especially with everything that is going on throughout the United States, ” Jones said. “To just say thank you to the police officers, you’re going to get a good meal today, come and eat good.”