NORTH BAY -- A North Bay police officer is being recognized by the Police Association of Ontario (PAO) for his charitable work helping the city's most vulnerable people.

Const. Matt Parker was nominated and was named a finalist for the PAO's Hero of The Year On-Duty Difference Maker award.

Parker believes policing is not just about catching criminals, but also about helping others.

"I joined the police so I could help people and make people's lives better," he said.

Parker has been instrumental in supporting the less fortunate in the city through his work of getting food to the homeless along with partners at Rebuilt Resources.

"I knew our police officers were giving out packed lunches and buying food for homeless people," Parker said. "I asked Maureen at Rebuilt Resources if there's anything that we can do and she came up with a whole bunch of Tim Horton's gift certificates for front-line officers to hand out."

Rebuilt Resources CEO Maureen Brazeau says Parker's caring nature is making a difference in the lives of the city's vulnerable.

"He is a hero in my eyes. When he approached us on some of the things that he was seeing on the streets, we knew we could work with him," she said.

The North Bay Police Association nominated Parker for the provincial award. He was recognized as one of the finalists.

"Matt's community work in what he does with his outreach program and how he assists members of the community clearly made a mark on this committee," said Police Association of Ontario Outgoing President Bruce Chapman.

Parker has been with the North Bay Police Service for 16 years. Throughout his years on the force, he has dedicated a lot of his off-duty and on-duty time to a program called the 'Community Closet'.

"Officers within the police service and the public were donating clothing items to people who we became aware of who were requiring clothing," explained North Bay Police Chief Scott Tod.

"As a chief, I was quite honoured one of our members would be nominated for that award."

Parker is encouraging other police officers and members of the public alike, to continue to support the city's vulnerable population.

"What I get is enjoyment and satisfaction from being able to help people that need it," concluded Parker.