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Shop With A Cop: The City Of Hallandale Beach Defines The Spirit Of A Community

Stephen Cummings

December 29, 2022

As the holiday season approaches, the spirit of giving to those less fortunate than ourselves defines the spirit of a community. The Hallandale Beach Police Department in conjunction with the Hallandale Beach Police Athletic League brightened the lives of 110 deserving children showering them with gifts and encouragement building gingerbread houses together celebrating the annual tradition of Shop With A Cop.

Foster Park has become the newest venue for the Police Athletic League hosting their various programs and PAL Program Director, Jonathan Carrillo decorated the facility with great assistance from Laqueshia Brinson and fellow staff members from Gulfstream Academy reflecting a scene from a winter wonderland.

The children were chosen by the Police Department and the schools as each child created a wish list for Santa Claus and the presents were purchased at a local Walmart.

Carrillo is grateful to the lead sponsors for their continued generosity who include Harry Escandon from Crosstown Towing and Recovery and David Burton who serves as the fundraising chair for the PAL as well the Windhover Foundation with Richard Quadracci.

Also, this event is made possible by local Attorneys Robert and Stephanie Fehnstersheib, AIG Technologies, Page Properties LLC. and Kiwanis Member Stephen Cummings.

Prior to Santa delivering the gifts to the anxious children, Ricardo Mendez, Director Of Community Relations for Chick Fil A ensured that all the guests and volunteers were well fed with chicken sandwiches, chips, cookies and juice packs. Mendez has been a huge supporter of the Police Athletic League often providing complimentary food.

Shop With A Cop takes place in several communities, but none to my memory serve as many needy kids as in Hallandale Beach. This program was implemented in Hallandale Beach in the late nineties and often took place inside Walmart, but Jonathan Carrillo has slightly redesigned the program since the wave of COVID-19 swept the nation.

Hallandale Beach Police Chief Michel Michel, a twenty year Veteran of the Police force proudly watched scores of officers volunteer their time sitting with the children making the gingerbread houses presenting themselves in a very positive fashion. The reality is that we usually see police officers when we are in trouble or receiving a traffic citation, but they relish the opportunity to perform community service with our youth.

The world has been plagued by the rising costs of goods and services due to inflation, but the City of Hallandale Beach rallies each year ensuring smiles and laughter to those children who are selected to participate in this altruistic program.

Stephen Cummings is a Past LT. Governor with Kiwanis International and can be reached at: (954) 907-2392.

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